U.S still has it all to do to close gender equality gap

Nov 22 2006 by Nic Paton Print This Article

America still lags behind much of Europe when it comes to closing workplace, cultural and political gender gaps, according to a new study.

The World Economic Forum research has rated the Nordic nations as closest in the world to full sexual equality, with Sweden at the top.

The survey examined the gender gap in four areas from economics to political participation.

The U.S lagged behind many EU states, which between them held half of the top 20 positions, including the EU's new member states.

The UK and Irish Republic also performed well, with the UK among those rated by the WEF to have fully closed the gender gap in education.

France, however, came in at the other end of the European range, ranked 70th overall, just ahead of Malta and just behind Greece.

Sweden was the only nation to have an equal number of men and women as ministers and parliamentarians, and was followed in the rankings by Norway, Finland and Iceland.

Germany, for example, was among the top five countries with the smallest gender gap but, faring especially well in "political empowerment", where it was ranked sixth, but less well in terms of economic participation.

The country ranked lowest overall was Yemen, just below Saudi Arabia.

The U.S was rated 22nd, behind Colombia, while China ranked 63rd and Japan was 79th.

The Philippines was the only Asian nation to make it into the top 10.

Emerging economies such India and Pakistan also came in low, reflecting continuing gaps in many areas between men and women.