Gender workplace equality ‘257 years away’

Women may have to wait more than two centuries for equality at work, according to a report on showing gender inequality growing in workplaces worldwide despite increasing demands for equal treatment.
Women may have to wait more than two centuries for equality at work, according to a report on showing gender inequality growing in workplaces worldwide despite increasing demands for equal treatment.
Image: 123RF

Women may have to wait more than two centuries for equality at work, according to a report showing gender inequality growing in workplaces worldwide despite increasing demands for equal treatment.

While women appear to be gradually closing the gender gap in areas such as politics, health and education, workplace inequality is not expected to be erased until 2276, according to a report published by the World Economic Forum on Tuesday.

The organisation said the worldwide gender gap in the workplace had widened further since 2018, when parity was 202 years off.

Its annual report tracks disparities between the sexes in 153 countries across four areas — education, health, economic opportunity and political empowerment.

The overall gender gap across these categories has shrunk, with the forum forecasting it will take 99.5 years for women to achieve parity on average, down from the 108 years forecast in 2018’s report.

The forum said the gender gap was more than 96% closed in the area of education and could be eliminated within just 12 years.

The gap was equally small in the health category.

Politics is where the least progress has been made.

Women in 2019 held 25.2% of parliamentary lower-house seats and 22.1% of ministerial positions.

The report, which looked at factors including opportunity and pay, said it would take 257 years before there was equality in the workplace.

It highlighted positive developments, like a general increase in the share of women among skilled workers and senior officials.

Only 55% of adult women are in the labour market today, compared to 78% of men.

Women globally still make 40% less than men for similar work in similar positions.

Men and women were most equal in Iceland, followed by Norway, Finland and Sweden.

Syria, Pakistan, Iraq and Yemen showed the biggest overall gender gaps.

Among the world’s 20 leading economies, Germany fared the best, taking 10th place, followed by France at 15th, SA at 17th, Canada at 19th and Britain at 21st.

The US was in 53rd. — AFP

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