Published on Tuesday, the WEF report found that following a dramatic global slowdown in progress, women throughout the world are unlikely to achieve economic equality with men for a further 170 years.
The report, an annual benchmarking exercise measuring progress in gender parity, focuses on four main areas: education attainment, health and survival, economic opportunity and political empowerment.
This year’s edition found that global progress in the key economic pillar has slowed dramatically, with the gap – which stands at 59 percent – now larger than at any point since 2008.
Last year projections based on the report suggested the economic gap could be closed within 118 years, but progress has reversed since then, said WEF in a statement.
“The world is facing an acute misuse of talent by not acting faster to tackle gender inequality, which could put economic growth at risk and deprive economies of the opportunity to develop.”
The Nordic countries revealed themselves to be the most gender-equal societies, with Iceland topping the table followed by Finland, Norway and Sweden. African nation Rwanda completed the top five.
Switzerland, in eighth place last year, is bumped to 11th with a score of 77 percent – where 0 is imparity and 100 is parity – two points fewer than last year.
However it remains the sixth most gender-equal country in Europe.
The alpine country’s biggest decline was in the economic pillar, where it dropped 13 places to rank 30th this year, with a score of 74 percent.
The country is far from achieving parity in terms of the number of women and men in senior managerial roles, for which it scored 54 percent.
Wage equality in Switzerland stands at 70 percent, compared with 78 percent in top-placed Iceland, said the report.
The country achieved a fairly low score of 39 percent for political empowerment, far behind Iceland’s 78 percent, however that’s better than the global average of 23 percent in an area where the “gender gap looms largest”, said the report.
“Only two countries have reached parity in parliament and only four have reached parity on ministerial roles, according to the latest globally comparable data,” it said.
Switzerland placed higher than other European countries France (17th), Germany (13th) and the UK (20th).
“While some countries have clear room for improvement… [Western Europe] has now closed 75 percent of its gender gap, more than any other region,” said the report.
Meaning it should only take 47 years, rather than the global figure of 170 years, to close the economic gender gap in Europe, it said.