Gender parity is not recovering, according to the Global Gender Gap Report 2022. It will take another 132 years to close the global gender gap. As crises are compounding, women's workforce outcomes are suffering and the risk of global gender parity backsliding further intensifies.
The Global Gender Gap Index benchmarks the current state and evolution of gender parity across four key dimensions (Economic Participation and Opportunity, Educational Attainment, Health and Survival, and Political Empowerment). It is the longest-standing index which tracks progress towards closing these gaps over time since its inception in 2006.
This year, the Global Gender Gap Index benchmarks 146 countries, providing a basis for robust cross-country analysis. Of these, a subset of 102 countries have been represented in every edition of the index since 2006, further providing a large constant sample for time series analysis. The Global Gender Gap Index measures scores on a 0 to 100 scale and scores can be interpreted as the distance covered towards parity (i.e., the percentage of the gender gap that has been closed). The cross-country comparisons aim to support the identification of the most effective policies to close gender gaps.
Key findings include the index results in 2022, trend analysis of the trajectory towards parity, and data deep dives through new metrics partnerships and contextual data.
Global results and time to parity
In 2022, the global gender gap has been closed by 68.1%. At the current rate of progress, it will take 132 years to reach full parity. This represents a slight four-year improvement compared to the 2021 estimate (136 years to parity). However, it does not compensate for the generational loss which occurred between 2020 and 2021: according to trends leading up to 2020, the gender gap was set to close within 100 years.
- Across the 146 countries covered by the 2022 index, the Health and Survival gender gap has closed by 95.8%, Educational Attainment by 94.4%, Economic Participation and Opportunity by 60.3% and Political Empowerment by 22%.
- Although no country has yet achieved full gender parity, the top 10 economies have closed at least 80% of their gender gaps, with Iceland (90.8%) leading the global ranking. Iceland remains the only economy to have closed more than 90% of its gender gap. Other Scandinavian countries such as Finland (86%, 2nd), Norway (84.5%, 3rd) and Sweden (82.2%, 5th) feature in the top 5, with additional European countries such as Ireland (80.4%) and Germany (80.1%) in 9th and 10th positions, respectively. Sub-Saharan African countries Rwanda (81.1%, 6th) and Namibia (80.7%, 8th), along with one Latin American country, Nicaragua (81%, 7th), and one country from East Asia and the Pacific, New Zealand (84.1%, 4th), also take positions in the top 10. Nicaragua and Germany are the new entrants in the top 10 in 2022, while Lithuania (79.9%,11th) and Switzerland (79.5%, 13th) drop out this year.
- Based on the evolution of the global average scores for each subindex over the past 16 editions for the constant sample of 102 countries, at the current rates of progress, it will take 155 years to close the Political Empowerment gender gap, 151 years for the Economic Participation and Opportunity gender gap, and 22 years for the Educational Attainment gender gap. The time to close the Health and Survival gender gap remains undefined as its progress to parity has stalled.
- Comparing this year's results against last year's by examining the 145 countries covered in both the 2021 and 2022 editions shows that the overall gender parity score rose from 67.9% to 68.1%. The Economic Participation and Opportunity subindex also increased from 58.7% to 60.3%, as did the Health and Survival subindex from 95.7% to 95.8%. The Educational Attainment subindex fell from 95.2% to 94.4% while Political Empowerment remained the same, at 22%.
- An analysis of subindex evolution over time -- based on the constant sample of 102 countries included in the index since 2006 -- reveals that gender parity overall and for three of the four subindexes has made progress since the first edition. During the sixteen-year period since the report's inception, each subindex has shown different trends. Economic Participation and Opportunity had one period of increasing parity between 2006 and 2013, and one long period of negative evolution after 2013 until 2017. The Educational Attainment subindex also improved steadily towards parity, with step-changes in 2008 and 2015. The Health and Survival subindex has varied only slightly over time, reaching its lowest point in 2018 and recovering marginally since then, though short of its 2006 level. The Political Empowerment subindex registered significant advances towards parity between 2006 and 2016, fluctuating until 2021, after which it stalled below its 2019 peak.
Regional results and time to parity
North America leads all regions, having closed 76.9% of its gender gap. It is closely followed by Europe, which has closed 76.6% of its gap. In third place is Latin America and the Caribbean, having bridged 72.6% of its gender gap. Central Asia, along with East Asia and the Pacific, are towards the middle, at 69.1% and 69%, respectively, progress towards parity. In sixth spot, Sub-Saharan Africa stands at 67.8%. Further down in the ranking and trailing over four percentage points behind Sub-Saharan Africa, is the Middle East and North Africa, which has closed 63.4% of its gender gap. Lastly, South Asia reports the lowest performance, having closed 62.4% of its gender gap in 2022.
- North America is the most advanced region in terms of closing the gender gap. The population-weighted average score for the region is 76.9%, which reduces the number of years it will take to close the gap from 62 to 59 years. The improvements are due to a slight increase since last year in the gender gap score of the United States of America as well as a stable score in Canada.
- Europe has the second-highest level of gender parity, currently standing at 76.6%. Based on the constant set of 102 countries covered since 2006, the region has a 60-year wait to close the gap. Iceland, Finland and Norway hold the topmost ranks in the world and in the region.
- Latin America and the Caribbean ranks third of all regions, after North America and Europe. The region has bridged 72.6% of its gender gap. Based on the current pace of progress, Latin America and the Caribbean will close the gap in 67 years. However, within the region, only six of the 22 countries indexed in this edition improved their gender gap score by at least one percentage point since last year.
- In Central Asia, overall progress in closing the gender gap is unchanged from the last edition, at 69.1%. At this pace, it would take 152 years to close the regional gender gap. In 2022, Central Asia reports the fourth-highest regional score out of the eight regions, just after North America, Europe, and Latin America and the Caribbean.
- East Asia and the Pacific has closed 69% of its gender gap, marginally increasing its regional performance over the 2021 edition, with 13 of 19 countries improving their score. At this pace, the region will need 168 years to close the gender gap. However, within the region, there are important differences in countries' progress.
- Sub-Saharan Africa has the sixth-highest regional score and has bridged 68.7% of its gender gap. It ranks ahead of Middle East and North Africa, and South Asia. The region registers its highest gender gap score in 16 years. At the present rate it would take 98 years to close the gender gap in the region.
- With an average population-weighted score of 63.4%, Middle East and North Africa has the second-largest gender gap yet to close, after South Asia. The region's progress remains similar to the last edition, which gives Middle East and North Africa a timeframe to close the gap of 115 years.
- Among the eight regions covered in the report, South Asia ranks the lowest, with only 62.3% of the gender gap closed in 2022. This lack of progress since the last edition extends the wait to close the gender gap to 197 years, due to a broad stagnation in gender parity scores across most countries in the region. Bangladesh and Nepal lead regional performance with over 69% of their gender gaps closed.
Gender gaps in the workforce: an emerging crisis
Gender gaps in the workforce are driven and affected by many factors, including long-standing structural barriers, socioeconomic and technological transformation, as well as economic shocks. More women have been moving into paid work and, increasingly, leadership positions, yet globally societal expectations, employer policies, the legal environment and the availability of care continue to play an important role in the choice of educational tracks and career trajectories. The decade of austerity that followed the 2008 Global Financial Crisis constrained sectors that provide the core of social infrastructure, affecting outcomes for families and primary caregivers - often women - during the pandemic. Geopolitical conflict and climate change both impact women disproportionately. In addition, the projected deepening of the current cost-of-living crisis is also likely to impact women more severely than men, as women continue to earn and accumulate wealth at lower levels.
Given the high risk of an enveloping crisis, the report explores the state of gender gaps in the workforce through complementary data available in the Economy Profiles and new metrics developed in collaboration with LinkedIn, Coursera, Hologic and WTW:
- Gender gaps in labour-market recovery: A time-series analysis of gender parity in labour-force participation for a constant sample of 102 countries included in the Global Gender Gap Index shows that global gender parity for labour-force participation had been slowly declining since 2009. However, the trend was exacerbated in 2020, when gender parity scores decreased precipitously over two consecutive editions. As a result, in 2022, gender parity in the labour force stands at 62.9%, the lowest level registered since the index was first compiled. Among workers who remained in the labour force, unemployment rates increased and and has remained consistently higher for women.
- Gender gaps in care work: The disproportionately negative labour market impact of the pandemic can be explained partly through the sectoral composition of the shock and partly through the amount of care work that fell on women as childcare facilities and schools were closed -- a pattern of caregiving responsibility that was already pronounced before the pandemic. Based on an analysis of 2019 data from 33 countries, representing 54% of the global working-age population, men's share of time spent in unpaid work as a proportion spent in total work was 19%, while for women this was 55%. With rising childcare costs, there is a high risk that an asymmetric demand to provide unpaid care work will continue to be imposed on women.
- Gender gaps in leadership by industry: The share of women hired into leadership roles has seen a steady increase, from 33.3% in 2016 to 36.9% in 2022. Complementing Global Gender Gap Index statistics, high-frequency data from LinkedIn for 22 countries provides a snapshot of women's representation in leadership in 2022: only select industries have levels near gender parity in leadership, such as Non-Governmental and Membership Organizations (47%), Education (46%), and Personal Services and Wellbeing (45%). At the other end of the range are Energy (20%), Manufacturing (19%) and Infrastructure (16%). While the share of women in leadership has been increasing over time, women have not been hired at equal rates across industries. On average, more women have been hired into leadership in industries where women were already highly represented.
- Gender gaps in political representation: More women in political leadership tends to create a powerful role model effect as well as decisions that represent broader parts of the population. Data from the Global Gender Gap Index shows the progression of women in leadership in public office. Of all female heads of state globally, the longest serving ones have presided over Germany for 16.1 years, Iceland for 16 years, Dominica for 14.9 years and Ireland for 14 years. The global average share of women in ministerial positions nearly doubled between 2006 and 2022, increasing from 9.9% to 16.1%. Similarly, the global average share of women in parliament rose from 14.9% to 22.9%.
- Gender gaps in wealth accumulation: Skewed labour-market outcomes have an outsized impact on female wealth accumulation when calculated over a working lifetime. In addition, unequal access and control over wealth-building resources -- such as banking, investment, inheritance and property -- can contribute to the wealth divide. According to an analysis carried out in collaboration with WTW looking at wealth equity for 39 countries, the most salient factors contributing to this gender-based wealth inequality are gender pay gaps, unequal career progression trajectories, gender gaps in financial literacy, and life events. For frontline operational roles, the overall gender wealth gap amounts to 11%; for professional and technical type roles, the gender wealth gap nearly triples to 31%; and for senior expert and leadership roles it expands further to 38%.
- Gender gaps in lifelong learning and skills prioritization: Women continue to be overrepresented in Education and Health and Welfare degree subjects compared to men, and underrepresented in STEM fields. The gender gap is most prevalent in two fields. Taking into account graduates from all fields, the percentage of women graduates in Information and Communication Technologies (ICT) is 1.7%, compared to 8.2% of men graduates. In Engineering and Manufacturing the same figures are 24.6% for men and 6.6% for women. While gender segmentation in degree choices continue in traditional education, high-frequency data from Coursera in this year's report finds that more women than ever are skilling, re-skilling and upskilling online. Furthermore, gender gaps are substantially smaller in online enrolment than in traditional education. In ICT, for example, gender parity increased in online training between 2019 and 2021. However, enrolment behaviour shows that men and women's skilling preferences continue to respond to traditional patterns, creating skilling gender gaps for both men and women.
- Gender gaps in stress levels: Based on data by Hologic, the report finds that between 2021 and 2022, reported stress was 4% higher in women than in men. This adds to a growing global health burden of mental and emotional disorders, which is disproportionately affecting women's health and well-being.
The report's detailed Economy Profiles and online Data Explorer tool - available on the report website - allow users to understand how close each country is to gender equality across each of the four subindexes and provide a snapshot of each country's legal and social framework to date. The Global Gender Gap Report continues to aim to create a continuous assessment of gender disparities, support the case for closing gender gaps, encourage further research on policies and practices that are effective at promoting change, and promote public-private collaboration to close gender gaps.
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