Australia global laggard on gender gap

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Finbar O’Mallon
(Australian Associated Press)

 

Australia has failed to make the top 40 in global rankings for gender equality.

Although, the country continues to lead the world in closing the education gap between men and women.

The World Economic Forum’s 2020 Global Gender Index has ranked Australia at 44 out of 153, while across the ditch, New Zealand sits at six.

Australia is not even in the top 10 in East Asia and the Pacific, sitting below the Philippines and Laos.

All in all, Australia has only closed 73 per cent of the gap between men and women, having dropped five places in two years.

Looking closer, the country ranks 49th on the economic participation gap, which measures wages, employment and workforce representation.

Australia is number one for closing the education gap, with gender parity around access to literacy and numeracy skills.

The poor representation of women in politics has seen Australia ranked at 57, having closed just 23 per cent of the gap.

The index pointed to a poor number of women in parliament, ministerial positions and the small number of years with a woman as national leader.

On health, Australia ranked 104, but this was a tight category, with many countries close to parity on women’s health outcomes.

The country has closed 97 per cent of the health gap.

The stats look even worse when the Australia of today is compared to the Australia of 2006.

Back then, the country was number 15 on the global index, not 44.

Australia was number 12 when it came to economic participation, 32 on political empowerment, 57 on health and number one on education.

The forum warns internationally, at the current rate of efforts being made, the gender pay gap won’t be closed for 257 years.

Founder Klaus Schwab said the report highlighted a growing urgency for action.

“At the dawn of the 2020s, building fairer and more inclusive economies must be the goal of global, national and industry leaders,” he said.

Iceland was the most equal country overall, followed by Norway and Finland respectively.

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