Sweden has most empowered women

// 22 November 2006

Sweden has the smallest gender gap in the world, according to a World Economic Forum report.

The UK doesn’t do too badly either, coming in 9th behind a list of mostly Nordic countries. Overall, the EU 15 comes in second after Australia and New Zealand as the least worst regions. The Middle East comes in last.

The US, on the other hand, comes in an abysmal 22nd, just after Colombia.

China comes in 63rd, Japan comes in 79th. The Philippines, however, beat many more economically developed countries to make it into the top 10.

As well as producing a revealing ranking of countries, the report also has some interesting insights into what areas of life are most affected by the gender gap. As the BBC reports:

Overall, the survey shows that about 90% of the gender gap in education and health has been closed.

However, only about 50% of the gender gap has been closed in economic participation and opportunity, while as little as 15% of the gap in political empowerment has been closed.

The report’s methodology has changed to assess the relative size of the gender gap, rather than the level of “women’s empowerment and access”.

The reason for this is to show how well resources are being used between male and female populations.

This means countries that have low levels of education overall are not penalised.

Instead, places where the distribution of education is uneven between men and women are highlighted.

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