Switzerland slips in gender equality rankings

AFP/The Local
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Switzerland slips in gender equality rankings

Switzerland has slipped in the 2014 global rankings for gender equality to 11th place from ninth last year in an annual report from the Geneva-based World Economic Forum.


Iceland tops the list for the narrowest gap between the sexes in the rankings, dominated at the top by Scandinavian countries, issued on Tuesday.

Finland rates second, followed by Norway, Sweden and Denmark in the report that indicates worldwide if you're waiting for gender equality in the workplace, you may have to wait a long time.

In Switzerland, the report shows that women are paid just 59 percent of what men earn for similar work, compared with 74 percent in Iceland.

Swiss women have a relatively high participation rate in the workforce but almost 46 percent of those working have part-time jobs, compared to just under ten percent of working men.

Switzerland ranks tenth for women in ministerial positions, and ranks first in the world for income and literacy.

Overall, while women are rapidly closing the gender gap with men in areas like health and education, inequality at work is not expected to be erased until 2095, the report said.

The WEF, which each year gathers the global elite in the plush Swiss ski resort of Davos, said that the worldwide gender gap in the workplace had barely narrowed in the past nine years.

Since 2006, when the forum first began issuing its annual Global Gender Gap Reports, women have seen their access to economic participation and opportunity inch up to 60 percent of that of men's, from 56 percent.
"Based on this trajectory, with all else remaining equal, it will take 81 years for the world to close this gap completely," the WEF said in a statement.
The world would be better served to speed up the process, according to WEF founder and chief Klaus Schwab.
"Achieving gender equality is obviously necessary for economic reasons," he said.

"Only those economies who have full access to all their talent will remain competitive and will prosper."

Some 'far-reaching' progress

The report, which covered 142 countries, looked at how nations distribute access to healthcare, education, political participation and resources and opportunities between women and men.
Almost all the countries had made progress towards closing the gap in access to healthcare, with 35 nations filling it completely, while 25 countries had shut the education access gap, the report showed.
Even more than in the workplace, political participation lagged stubbornly behind, with women still accounting for just 21 percent of the world's decision makers, according to the report.
Yet this was the area where most progress had been made in recent years.
"In the case of politics, globally, there are now 26 percent more female parliamentarians and 50 percent more female ministers than nine years ago," said the report's lead author, Saadia Zahidi.
"These are far-reaching changes," she said, stressing though that much remained to be done and that the "pace of change must in some areas be accelerated."

More equality in Nordic countries 

The five Nordic countries, led by Iceland, clearly remained the most gender-equal.
They were joined by Nicaragua, Rwanda, Ireland, the Philippines and Belgium in the top ten, while Yemen remained at the bottom of the chart for the ninth year in a row.
The United States, meanwhile, climbed three spots from last year to 20th, after narrowing its wage gap and hiking the number of women in lawmaking and ministerial level positions.
France catapulted from 45th to 16th place, also due to a narrowing wage gap but mainly thanks to increasing numbers of women in politics, including near-parity in the number of government ministers.
With 49 percent women ministers, France now has one of the highest ratios in the world.
Britain dropped eight spots to 26th place, amid changes in income estimates.
Among other large economies, Brazil stood at 71st place, Russia at 75th, China at 87th and India at 114, the report showed.

To read the full report, click here.


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