Japan ranked 110th in gender equality

Robots and Lack of Child Care Leave Women's Wages Centuries Behind

Gender equality at work more than 200 years off: WEF

The country still shows a significant gender gap when it comes to women in parliament compared to many other Western countries where there are about half the number of women as there are men.

After years of advances in education, health, and political representation, women registered setbacks in all three areas this year, the WEF said.

Despite the progress in countries like Tunisia, complete financial equality between the genders in the Middle East and North Africa, which is the region with the widest gender gap in the world, would take some 153 years to attain, according to the report.

"Just six other countries (Nicaragua, Norway, Rwanda, Bangladesh, Finland and Sweden) have closed at least 50 per cent of their gap", the report said. The economic opportunity gap - based on participation, pay and advancement in the workforce - remains the area that'll take the longest time to close. In October, Prime Minister Katrin Jakobsdottir was among scores of Icelandic women who walked out of their workplaces to protest wage inequality and sexual harassment.

The WEF's "Global Gender Gap Report 2018" found that overall the economic gender gap narrowed in 2018. Despite its top performance, the country has seen a slight regression on economic participation and opportunity after an increased gender gap in the number of women legislators, senior officials and managers.

WEF said that there was a year-on-year deterioration of political empowerment of women, "partly attributed to the lower tenure of women in head-of-state roles around the world".

A gender gap index closer to 1 indicates a more fair society in terms of gender equality. Only in the area of economic opportunity did the gender gap narrow somewhat, although there was not much to celebrate, with the global wage gap narrowing to almost 51pc, it added. Women have as much access to financial services as men in just 60 percent of the countries and to land ownership in just 42 percent. "They work continuously for fewer years than men, since only women get pregnant, and most women are not prepared to instantly dump the baby on somebody else to raise".

"More than ever, societies can not afford to lose out on the skills, ideas and perspectives of half of humanity", said Klaus Schwab, executive chairman of the WEF.

According to Saadia Zahidi, head of the Centre for the New Economy and Society and member of the WEF managing board, industries must "proactively hardwire gender parity in the future of work through effective training, reskilling and upskilling interventions and tangible job transition pathways".

When it came to political leadership, the report pointed out that globally, there were just 17 countries in the world that now have women as heads of state, while, on average, just 18 percent of ministers and 24 percent of parliamentarians globally are women.

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