No matter what side you identify with in the gender equality argument, a gender gap index has come out with data that projects a period of 170 years for gender equality to become a reality.
Due to media coverage, it does seem a lot of times like this has been the best year for gender equality around the world.
There have been more African countries abolishing child marriage and raising the legal age for marriage to 18, voices like Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie have prescribed even more useful guides for feminism and in a country like Nigeria, a gender equality bill has come before the country’s lawmakers for the second time this year.
Despite all this apparent progress, the World Economic Forum’s gender gap index showed that efforts to close the gender gaps in pay and participation in the workforce have slowed down dramatically in the past year. In essence, women are still facing struggles related specifically to gender in pulling in equal pay and even rising in the workplace.
With that in mind, the gender gap index says that men and women may not reach economic equality for another 170 years. Just a year ago, that time frame was briefer, the economic gap had been expected to close up in 118 years, but progress has stopped and even reversed in some nations around the world.
Saadia Zahidi, a member of the World Economic Forum executive committee said that the results were not conclusive. In her words; “These forecasts are not foregone conclusions. Instead, they reflect the current state of progress and serve as a call to action,”
In the gender gap index for this year, Iceland and Finland ranked highest among 144 nations. The progress of these 144 nations was measured on the grounds of equality in education, health and survival, economic opportunity and political empowerment.
Norway and Sweden came in third and fourth and Rwanda was the overall fifth and the first country in Africa. According to the World Economic Forum, Rwanda had improved on the ground of economic participation and income equality and the African country also has the highest share of female parliamentarians.
Occupying the bottom part of the list were Yemen, Syria, Saudi Arabia, and Iran.