The report titled, Women’s Empowerment: Measuring the Global Gender Gap, measures the gap between gender in five areas based upon the United Nations Development Fund for Women. Scores were given for
The study ranks Sweden, Norway, Iceland, Denmark and Finland (in that order) at the top of the list, with the smallest gender gap, and says countries governmental transparency, and equal access to resources for both men and women create high standards of living for both sexes.
Augusto Lopez-Claros, director of the Global Competitiveness Programme, said the study meant to establish benchmarking to assess the size of the gender gap, "ranking them according to the level of advancement of their female population and identifying successes and failures, based on economic, political, educational and health-based criteria."
Out of seven points possible, the Nordic countries scored more than 5 points each. Lopez-Claros said the Nordic countries "have understood the economic incentive behind empowering women: Countries that do not fully capitalize on one-half of their human resources are clearly undermining their competitive potential."
The European Union faired well too for women. The United Kingdom (8,) Germany (9,) France (13,) Netherlands (14,) and Ireland (16) beat the United States on gender equality.
Other top 20 countries included New Zealand (6,) Canada (7,) Australia (10,) Latvia (11,) Lithuania (12,) and Estonia (15.)
Following the United States, Costa Rica scored at 18, Poland at 19, Belgium at 20, and the Slovak Republic at 21. The United States was hurt by its economic participation and political empowerment for women, as well as its national practice to thwart maternity leave and childcare, forcing women to decide between career or home life. For developed nations the United States had the highest pregnancy rate for teenaged girls, which counted against the overall score.
Switzerland ranked poorly (34) because the country lags behind not only in economic participation for women, (e.g., a low ratio of female to male earned income, low female labor force activity rates) and economic opportunity, but also in educational attainment, being one of the very few developed nations where female enrollment rates are consistently lower than male rates.
Costa Rica occupied first place in Latin America by a large margin, followed by Colombia (30,) Uruguay (32,) and Argentina (35.) Peru (47,) Chile (48,) Venezuela (49,) Brasil (51,) and Mexico (52,) all fare poorly due to performances on all five areas of equality.
Large, populous nations such as India (53,) Pakistan (56,) Turkey (57,) and Egypt (58,) hold some of the lowest positions in the rankings and reflect large disparities between men and women on all five areas of the index.
Study authors Lopez-Claros, and Saadia Zahidi scheduled presentation of their findings on 16 May in London, and 26 May in New York.
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