Jul 12, 2022 - Economy

It will take 132 years for women to reach gender parity, report finds

2022 Global Gender Gap Index rankings
Data: World Economic Forum; Chart: Erin Davis/Axios Visuals

Women's progress around the globe is stalling. It will now take 132 years for women to reach gender parity worldwide — a slight improvement from 2021. Before the pandemic, the number was 100 years, according to the World Economic Forum's global gender gap index released Tuesday.

Why it matters: Women and girls are losing out on opportunities to fully participate out in the world, and the world is equally diminished by their absence.

  • The halt in progress comes at a time of upheaval for the global economy, with higher inflation, recession talk and a big reshuffling of the way some markets and businesses operate.
  • "If we want to be able to grow our way out of this current set of crises that's only going to come from investment, human ingenuity, human creativity, and all of that requires a diversity of talent," Saadia Zahidi, a managing director at WEF who co-authored the report, told Axios.
  • She hopes the report will serve as "a call to action."

Details: The report measures gender parity along four categories: Economic participation and opportunity, educational attainment, health and survival, and political empowerment.

  • It's the economic category that is reversing women's progress. Around the world, women left the workforce in 2020 to care for children and other relatives at home. And many haven't returned — or are trying to catch up to where they were before.
  • "The pattern that got set during the pandemic has stuck," says Zahidi.

The U.S. ranked 27th on the list, up three places from last year but just one place up from where it stood in 2015, when this Axios reporter last wrote about the index.

  • Though its overall standing in the rankings is fairly stagnant — the country's gender index score has risen since 2006, Zahidi said, largely because of the entrance of more women in politics.
  • These scores were compiled before the Supreme Court's ruling in Dobbs, eliminating the right to abortion in the country — which many predict will diminish women's economic standing.

Zoom out: Women certainly have made progress since the WEF started doing this index in 2006 along the four categories it examines.

  • Among the 146 countries, health and educational gaps are near closed at 96% and 94% respectively. But when it comes to economic participation and political empowerment the gaps between men and women are far wider.

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

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