Publication: Daily Times
Date: October 27, 2013
ISLAMABAD: Pakistan has shown poor performance on all indicators of the Global Gender Gap (GGG) Report, issued by the World Economic Forum (WEF).
The world’s gender gaps narrowed slightly in 2013 on the back of definite if not universal improvements in economic equality and political participation between the sexes, according to the Global Gender Gap Report 2013, published on Saturday.
“Both within countries and between countries are two distinct tracks to economic gender equality, with education serving as the accelerator. For countries that provide this basic investment, women’s integration in the workforce is the next frontier of change. For those that haven’t invested in women’s education, addressing this obstacle is critical to women’s lives as well as the strength of economies,” said co-author of the Report and Head of the Women Leaders and Gender Parity Programme Saadia Zahidi.
The areas where Pakistan showed improvements are labour force participation (134 last year to 131 this year), estimated earned income (131 to 129 this year), enrolment in primary education (133 last year to 125 this year), enrolment in secondary education (126 in 2012 to 114 this year) and enrolment in tertiary education (105 last year to 95 this year).
Other countries however outshined Pakistan’s gains by adopting pro-active approach for bridging the gender gap. The country shows no progress on improving its ranking on most of the indicators of the GGG index. This identifies lack of commitment from the policy makers both at public as well as private sector to include more women’s participation in economic, social and political spheres.
Among areas where Pakistan lost its rankings are; wage equality for similar work 110 in 2012 to 113 in 2013. The level of gender parity among professional and technical workers was downgraded, losing 3.0 points for Pakistan, ranking at 108 among the 136 countries globally.
On the political empowerment pillar, although Pakistan is doing relatively better, it still lost 12 points on the Political Empowerment Pillar and stands at 64 this year, similarly, women in parliament has been ranked 64 this year, as compared to 52 in 2012.
The report also shows that Pakistan has a large undocumented economy, where 3.0 percent of the female population has an account in a formal financial institution, the percentage for male population is 17 percent. The female and male employment in the informal sector (percentage of non-agricultural employment) 76 percent and 79 percent, respectively.
“Countries will need to start thinking of human capital very differently – including how they integrate women into leadership roles. This shift in mindset and practice is not a goal for the future, it is an imperative today,” said WEF Founder and Executive Chairman Klaus Schwab.
The eighth annual edition of the report ranks 136 countries on their ability to close the gender gap in four key areas: economic participation and opportunity, political empowerment, health and survival, educational attainment, political participation and economic equality. Of the 133 countries that were measured in both 2012 and 2013, 86 actually improved their gender gap during this time. Overall, the report finds Iceland the most advanced country in the world in terms of gender equality for the fifth year running. It, along with Finland (2nd), Norway (3rd) and Sweden (4th), has now closed over 80 percent of its gender gap. These countries are joined in the top 10 by the Philippines, which enters the top five for the first time, Ireland (6th), New Zealand (7th), Denmark (8th), Switzerland (9th) and Nicaragua (10th).
Elsewhere, in 14th place Germany is the highest-placed individual G20 economy, although it falls one place from 2012. Next is South Africa (17th, down one), the United Kingdom (level on 18th) and Canada (up one to 20th). The United States comes 23rd, also down one place since 2012. After South Africa, the next highest BRICS nation is Russia (61st), followed by Brazil (62nd), China (69th) and India (101st). At the bottom of the ranking are Chad (134th), Pakistan (135th) and Yemen (136th).
At the global level, the report finds that in 2013, 96 percent of the health and survival gender gap has now been closed. It is the only one of the four pillars that has widened since the report was first compiled in 2006. In terms of education, the global gender gap stands at 93 percent, with 25 countries having closed their gaps completely. The gender gaps for economic equality and political participation are only 60 percent and 21 percent closed, respectively, although progress is being made in these areas, with political participation narrowing by almost 2.0 percent over the last year. In both developing and developed countries alike, relative to the numbers of women in tertiary education and in the workforce overall, women’s presence in economic leadership positions is limited.