Global Gender Gap Report 2021 (15th edition)
Since 2006, the Global Gender Gap Report by the World Economic Forum (WEF) has measured gaps between men and women based on four key indicators: Economic Participation and Opportunity, Health and Survival, Educational Attainment and Political Empowerment. This 15th edition covers 156 countries. Preliminary evidence suggests that the COVID-19 crisis and the related economic downturn have impacted women more severely than men, partially re-opening gaps that had already been closed. Thus, the global gender gap has increased by a generation to 135.6 years from the previous 99.5 years.
Gender-sensitive recovery strategies will be critical in making up ground lost during 2020. Leaders have an unprecedented opportunity to build more resilient and gender-equal economies by investing in inclusive workplaces, creating more equitable care systems, advancing women’s rise to leadership positions, applying a gender lens to reskilling and redeployment and embedding gender parity into the future of work.
- Globally, the average distance completed to parity is at 68%, a step back compared to 2020 (-0.6 percentage points). On the current trajectory, it will now take 135.6 years to close the gender gap worldwide. While East Asia and the Pacific region (at 68.9%) is among the “most improved,” at the current pace, gender gaps can potentially be closed in 165.1 years, almost 30 years longer than the global average.
- Country performances vary considerably by rate of progress. In East Asia and the Pacific, the Philippines stayed in 2nd place in the region but dropped to 17th place (-1) globally. Lao PDR, still 3rd in the region, climbed to 36th place (+7) globally. Australia remained 4th in the region but slid to 50th place (-6) in the global rankings. Singapore stayed at 5th place regionally and 54th place globally; likewise, Vietnam was static at 9th place regionally and 87th globally. Myanmar rose to 14th place (+2) regionally and 109th place (+5) globally. Conversely, Indonesia fell to 10th place (-2) regionally and 101st place (-16) globally. Among the other ASEAN countries, Thailand ranked 79th place (-4), Cambodia 103rd place (-14), and Brunei 111th place (-16) globally.
- The gender gap in Political Empowerment remains the largest of the four gaps tracked, worldwide. East Asia and the Pacific has regressed on Political Empowerment, even as it narrowed gender gaps on the other subindexes. To date, only 13.5% of the regional gap has been closed. Notably, Indonesia experienced a decline in the share of women in ministerial positions to 17.1% from 23.5%.
- The gender gap in Economic Participation and Opportunity remains the second-largest gap tracked by the index. Regional scores resulted in 69.6% of the gap closed (+3 percentage points). Nine countries closed gaps by one percentage point or more, including Myanmar (+2.7 percentage points). However, six countries registered widening gaps (+2 percentage points or more). Notably, Indonesia saw a decline in the share of women in senior roles, which halved to 29.8% from 54.9% in just one year.
- While the global gaps for Educational Attainment and Health and Survival are nearly closed, there are disparate outcomes. Four countries in East Asia and the Pacific have achieved at least 99.5% gender parity in education, led by Australia and New Zealand. Yet, in Myanmar, the literacy rate among women is only 71.9%. The time to close the Health and Survival gap also remains undefined: East Asia and the Pacific has narrowed this gap by 94.9%, but “there has been virtually no progress made in closing the gap in the last 15 years.”
- Analysis of the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic shows there is a more severe destruction of overall roles in industries with higher participation of women, such as the Consumer sector, Non-profits, and Media and Communication. A longer “double-shift” of paid and unpaid work in a context of school closures and limited availability of care services have also contributed to an overall increase of stress, anxiety around job insecurity and difficulty in maintaining work-life balance among women with children.
- To pave the way for a more gender-equal future of work, the report recommends:
(1) further investments into the care sector and into equitable access to care leave for men and women; (2) policies and practices proactively focused on overcoming occupational segregation by gender; and (3) effective mid-career reskilling policies, combined with managerial practices, which embed sound, unbiased hiring and promotion practices.
- Key Findings
- Chapter 1: Benchmarking Gender Gaps: Findings from the Global Gender Gap Index 2021
- Chapter 2: Impact of the COVID-9 Pandemic on Economic Gender Gaps
- Chapter 3: Gender Gaps in Jobs of Tomorrow
- Chapter 4: Shaping a Gender-Equal Recovery
- Appendix A: Regional Classifications
- Appendix B: The Global Gender Gap Index Methodology and Technical Notes
- User’s Guide: How to Read the Country Profiles
- Country Profiles
- Contributors and Acknowledgements
The report was originally published on the World Economic Forum website.