Updated Mar 5, 2022 - Economy

U.S. is behind on gender equality, new report finds

2022 Gender equality index
2022 SDG Gender Index; Note: The 2022 report is sourced from 2020 data. GDP per capita is based on purchasing power parity; Chart: Jacque Schrag/Axios

The U.S. ranks 38th in the world on the newly released 2022 SDG Gender Index, which tracks the empowerment of women and girls across a variety of metrics — from health to education to workplace rights. The report looks at pre-COVID data, and its authors warn that the picture for women and girls is even worse today.

The big picture: In a crisis, progress on gender equality tends to get rolled back — women and girls are often first to leave their jobs or schools to handle more caregiving responsibility, for example.

  • This index shows that the state of gender equality was fragile and lagging even before the crisis of COVID — and we know the pandemic forced women out of work, drove up maternal mortality rates and even led to a spike in child marriage rates in some countries.
  • No country has achieved full gender parity, according to the report. Still, some made progress since 2015, when the index was first published.

Details: Equal Measures 2030 is a coalition of feminist advocacy groups, including the Gates Foundation, Plan International and other groups worldwide. The index looks at gender across a range of sustainability goals established by the U.N.

  • The report found that wealthier nations tend to rank higher for gender equality, but the U.S. ranks closer to less-wealthy nations like South Korea and Costa Rica.

What to watch: March is women's history month, expect a raft of data and information on women's economic standing.

Editor's note: This story originally published on March 3.

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