China's Gender Gap Is Widening, Says Report

"The workplace gender gap will now not be closed for 217 years, the report estimates", the WEF said. "With more than 50 years passed since the inauguration of the nation's first female prime minister, maintaining its global ranking will require India to make progress with a new generation of women political leadership", the report said.

The U.S. dropped four places to 49th in the Global Gender Gap Index due, in part, to a decline in the political empowerment category, which is at its lowest level since 2007.


The Global Gender Gap Report was compiled online in 144 countries, including in India, covering 12 industries.

The WEF report said South Africa has fully closed its health and survival gender gap, and has also almost closed its educational attainment gender gap, although a persistent gap in literacy is holding it back in this segment. At the current rate of progress, the global gender gap will take 100 years to close, said the Geneva-based World Economic Forum.

Compared with 11 years ago, the position of Chinese women has improved as well.

The country to rank first on the gender gap index was Iceland.

It is the second year in a row that the Swiss non-profit has recorded worsening economic inequality, which is calculated by measuring how many men and women participate in the labour force, their earned incomes and their job advancement. Last year South Korea was No. 116.

In case of China, 44 per cent of women's work is unpaid, while for men the figure stood at 19 per cent. It would take more than 200 years to close the economic gender gap.

Calling it "a bad year in a good decade", the WEF said that gender equality had decreased in the workplace and politics, especially in some countries with big populations like China and India, which affected the weighted totals.

Among Arab countries, Tunisia is the highest ranked at 117, followed by the UAE at 120 and Bahrain at 126.

The next two countries in the index, Nicaragua (6) and Slovenia (7), also achieved symbolic milestones this year, closing 80 percent of their gaps for the first time.

Finally, the distribution of care work also exacerbates gender gaps, according to the WEF index.

About 23 per cent of the political gap has been closed, which is unchanged since previous year against a long-term trend of slow but steady improvement.

"In 2017, we should not be seeing progress towards gender parity shift into reverse", Saadia Zahidi, WEF head of education, gender and work, said.

Political empowerment has the widest gender gap with only Iceland having closed more than 70 percent of the gap.

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