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The U.S. has fallen four spots in the World Economic Forum's ranking of countries according to gender equality, landing in 49th of 144 countries. While the U.S. ranks first for closing the education gender gap, women are still far less likely to have positions of political power or to contribute economically, according to this year's report.

Expand chart

Data: World Economic Forum Global Gender Gap Report 2017; Chart: Lazaro Gamio / Axios

The global picture: This is the second year in a row that the report has found a regression in economic participation, with only 58% of the gap closed, which was the lowest score since 2008. While political empowerment of women compared to men has slowly been improving over the years, there was no change in the 23% gap from last year.

Other highlights from the report include:

  • 82 countries have improved the gender gap and 60 have seen their score decrease.
  • Nordic countries hold the top three spots for gender equality.
  • At the this rate, the gender gap will be closed in 100 years by 106 countries.
  • The US ranked 23rd in 2006.
  • The study found that 50% of all work women do is unpaid.
  • In the US, women only make up 19% of all graduates in the engineering, manufacturing and construction and information and communication technologies fields.

Note: The Global Gender Gap report measures the discrepancy between men and women's participation, opportunity and care in each country, but does not take into account the country's overall development compared to other countries. A wealthy nation with more opportunity and resources than others can still rank low on this list due to unequally distributing those resources to men and women.

Go deeper

Updated 3 hours ago - Politics & Policy

Supreme Court backs religious groups on New York coronavirus restrictions

Photo: Saul Loeb/AFP via Getty Images

The U.S. Supreme Court ruled late Wednesday that restrictions previously imposed on New York places of worship by Gov. Andrew Cuomo (D) during the coronavirus pandemic violated the First Amendment.

Why it matters: The decision in a 5-4 vote heralds the first significant action by the new President Trump-appointed conservative Justice Amy Coney Barrett, who cast the deciding vote in favor of the Catholic Church and Orthodox Jewish synagogues.

USAID chief tests positive for coronavirus

An Air Force cargo jet delivers USAID supplies to Russia earlier this year. Photo: Mikhail Metzel/TASS via Getty Images

The acting administrator of the United States Agency for International Development informed senior staff Wednesday he has tested positive for coronavirus, two sources familiar with the call tell Axios.

Why it matters: John Barsa, who staffers say rarely wears a mask in their office, is the latest in a series of senior administration officials to contract the virus. His positive diagnosis comes amid broader turmoil at the agency following the election.

Bryan Walsh, author of Future
10 hours ago - Health

COVID-19 shows a bright future for vaccines

Illustration: Annelise Capossela/Axios

Promising results from COVID-19 vaccine trials offer hope not just that the pandemic could be ended sooner than expected, but that medicine itself may have a powerful new weapon.

Why it matters: Vaccines are, in the words of one expert, "the single most life-saving innovation ever," but progress had slowed in recent years. New gene-based technology that sped the arrival of the COVID vaccine will boost the overall field, and could even extend to mass killers like cancer.

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