Good news for the women out there: the World Economic Forum believes that gender equality is achievable — just not for another 81 years.
Since the Forum started tracking women in the world nine years ago “as a framework for capturing the magnitude of gender-based disparities”, the gender gap has closed by 4pc, from 56pc in 2006 to 60pc today. At this rate, women will not attain equal economic participation levels and opportunities until 2095.
And that’s assuming that progression continues at its current pace. However, the Global Gender Gap Report found that the four pillars it tracks — economy, politics, health and education — are not heading towards equality in every country.
Six of the original 111 countries that were included in the original report have worse opportunities for women than they did nine years ago, including Sri Lanka, Mali, Croatia, Macedonia, Jordan and Tunisia. Although the UK’s overall score is largely unchanged, it has dropped out of the top 20, falling eight places to 26th on the global ranking — its lowest since the index began.
Although the health and survival gender gap is narrowest overall — at 96pc globally, with 35 countries having fully closed the gap — it has widened in over 40pc of the countries measured.
With a gap of 94pc, education equality is the second strongest, with 25 countries having eliminated the gap altogether, including three in the last year. However, almost 30pc of countries have larger education gaps than they did in 2006.
The other two pillars, female economic participation and political empowerment, lag far behind. Of the 142 countries tracked, none has eliminated either of these gender gaps, and just 14 nations have narrowed the economic disparity to 80pc. The global politics gap stands at 21pc, meaning the average woman has a fifth of the political empowerment that the average man has.
The Global Gender Gap Report ranks countries according to their relative domestic disparities in giving men and women access to their resources, so the index is not skewed by a nation’s development status or economic strength.
Klaus Schwab, founder and executive chairman of the World Economic Forum, said that achieving gender equality is “obviously necessary for economic reasons.”
Mr Schwab said, "Only those economies who have full access to all their talent will remain competitive and will prosper. But even more important, gender equality is a matter of justice. As a humanity, we also have the obligation to ensure a balanced set of values."
The Nordic countries of Iceland, Finland, Norway, Sweden and Denmark account for the five most gender-equal countries in the world, while Nicaragua, Rwanda, Ireland, the Philippines and Belgium round out the top 10.
The UK, however, which ranked 9th when the index was first compiled in 2006, has fallen to 26th place, mainly due to changes in income estimates, the report explained.
The UK has eliminated the education gap, and although it has almost closed the health and survival gap with a score of 97pc, it still ranks 94th in this category. The country ranks 46th for economic participation, as British women have 71pc of the economic opportunity that men have, and falls in 33rd place for female political empowerment, with a rating of 27pc.
“Much of the progress on gender equality over the last 10 years has come from more women entering politics and the workforce … there are now 26% more female parliamentarians and 50% more female ministers than nine years ago," said Saadia Zahidi, head of the gender parity programme at the World Economic Forum and lead author of the report.
"These are far-reaching changes – for economies and national cultures, however it is clear that much work still remains to be done, and that the pace of change must in some areas be accelerated."