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Since 2006 the Global Gender Gap Index has been measuring the extent of gender-based gaps among four key dimensions (Economic Participation and Opportunity, Educational Attainment, Health and Survival, and Political Empowerment) and tracking progress towards closing these gaps over time. This year’s edition of the report benchmarks 153 countries and provides country rankings that allow for effective comparisons across and within regional peers. The methodology and quantitative analysis behind the rankings are intended to serve as a basis for designing effective measures for reducing gender gaps. The methodology of the index has remained stable since its original conception in 2006, providing a basis for robust cross-country and time-series analysis.

Key findings:

  • Globally, the average (population-weighted) distance completed to parity is at 68.6%, which is a further improvement since last edition. To date, there is still a 31.4% average gender gap that remains to be closed globally. The positive increase in the average global score translates into several countries advancing towards gender parity (although often at a slow pace): 101 of the 149 countries covered both this year and last year have increased their scores.
  • Across the four subindexes, on average, the largest gender disparity is—once again—the Political Empowerment gap. Despite being the most improved dimension this year (driving the overall positive performance) only 24.7% of the global Political Empowerment gap has been closed in 2020. The second-largest gap is on Economic Participation and Opportunity; 57.8% of this gap has been closed so far, which represents a slight step back since last year. Progress towards closing the Educational Attainment and Health and Survival gaps is more advanced: 96.1% and 95.7%, respectively, of these gaps have been closed to date, both marginally improved since last year
  • With regard to the Political Empowerment subindex, 108 countries of the 149 covered in both current and last year’s editions have improved their overall scores, driven mainly by a significant increase in the number of women in parliaments compared to the last assessment. Notably, in some countries such as Latvia, Spain and Thailand the number of women in parliament has increased substantially. Nonetheless, to date only 25% of these 35,127 global seats are occupied by women and only 21% of the 3,343 ministers are women; and in some countries, women are not represented at all. In addition, over the past 50 years, in 85 of the 153 countries covered by this report there has never been a female head of state.
  • . In parallel to improving representation of women among political leaders, the number of women in senior roles within the Economic Participation and Opportunity dimension has also increased. Globally, 36% of senior private sector’s managers and public sector’s officials are women (about 2% higher than the figure reported last year). Despite this progress, the gap to close on this aspect remains substantial as only a handful of countries are approaching parity.


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