Wednesday, October 30, 2013

Gender Equality

Why would the World Economic Forum care about gender equality?  Because there is a "strong correlation between a country's gender gap and its economic competitiveness." (See the WEF Global Gender Gap Report here).   

The WEF measured gender equality (or lack thereof) in the economic, political, health and education spheres.  Not surprisingly, Nordic countries are at the top of the gender equality rankings, led by Iceland and Finland, but there were some surprises, like the Philippines and Nicaragua making it to the top 10.  The map below shows a colour coding of the degree of gender equality around the world.

Each country's score is illustrated by a spider chart.  An interesting collection of those spider charts formed part of The Economist's daily chart here.

Canada ranked 20th in gender equality, slightly behind the UK (18th) and slightly ahead of the US (23rd).  Canada was ranked ninth in economic participation and opportunity as well as education. Personally, I think that the high economic score would have arisen primarily because of participation with high rates of employment and indicators like bank accounts. However, opportunity is definitely skewed, with the study showing a mere 6% female board directors at public companies.  Female board representation is a subject of great controversy here in Canada and it appears there may soon be some proactive efforts to increase the proportion of women.  Canada ranked very low in political participation; our four month flirtation with Kim Campbell with our first and only female prime minister didn't lift our standings much in that category!  One can't help thinking that one's own country should be better than this.

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