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The world might take 131 more years to overcome the gender equality gap, report suggests

Progress was disrupted by the Covid-19 pandemic's impact on women and girls in education and the workforce.

The world might take 131 more years to overcome the gender equality gap, report suggests
Cover Image Source: Pexels | Photo by Karolina Grabowska

We know that achieving something like gender equality is filled with many obstacles. However, with growing awareness, opportunities and activism one would hope this gap would be closed soon enough. However, that is not entirely true as progress on achieving global gender equality seems to have slowed down, according to CNN.

According to a new World Economic Forum report, women will not achieve parity with men for another 131 years. In other words, it won't be until 2154 that the current gender quality will be closed. Before diving into the details of these statistics, it is important to address that although there are more than two genders, the report implies the disparities between men and women.


According to the World Economic Forum's "Global Gender Gap Report 2023," the overall gender gap — a measure of equality in the economy, politics, health, and education has shrunk by 0.3% since 2022. The "tepid progress" in closing those gaps, as well as signs of parity slipping in areas such as the economy implied by the gender pay gap, create an "urgent case for renewed and concerted action," wrote Saadia Zahidi, managing director at the WEF, in the report.


"Recent years have been marked by major setbacks for gender parity globally, with previous progress disrupted by the Covid-19 pandemic’s impact on women and girls in education and the workforce, followed by economic and geopolitical crises," Zahidi wrote. "Today, some parts of the world are seeing partial recoveries while others are experiencing deteriorations as new crises unfold." 


The WEF's Gender Gap Index assesses gender equality in 146 countries and four areas: economic participation and opportunity, educational attainment, health and survival and political empowerment. Since the index's inception in 2006, overall parity has improved by 4.1 percentage points. While the report shows progress in educational attainment and increases in health and survival and political empowerment, the economic participation gap showed some regression, raising concerns about a "post-pandemic crisis," according to the report.

According to the WEF, it will take 169 years to achieve global economic parity and 162 years to achieve political parity. "The recovery from the shock and ensuing poly-crisis have been slow and, so far, incomplete, and the current context, coupled with technological and climate change, risks causing further regression in women’s economic empowerment. Not only are millions of women and girls losing out on economic access and opportunity, but these reversals also have wide-ranging consequences for the global economy," reads the report. 

Image Source: World Economic Forum
Image Source: World Economic Forum

With a parity score of 74.8%, the United States is ranked 43rd. The United States dropped in the overall rankings from last year (when it was 27th with 76.9% parity) due to a sharp drop in the political empowerment index, which measures the gender gap at the highest levels of political decision-making. Iceland, Norway, Finland, New Zealand, Sweden, Germany, Nicaragua, Namibia and Lithuania are the only countries that have closed at least 80% of the gap.

According to the WEF, Iceland is the most gender-equal country for the 14th year in a row, having closed 91.2% of the gap. "Accelerating progress towards gender parity will not only improve outcomes for women and girls but benefit economies and societies more widely, reviving growth, boosting innovation and increasing resilience," Zahidi added. 

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