Women participate in a demonstration against gender violence in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil, Tuesday, Oct. 25, 2016. Women in Brazil organized protests condemning violence against women following the brutal gang rape of a woman on the outskirts of Rio de Janeiro by suspected drug dealers. (AP Photo/Leo Correa) (AP)
The gender pay gap in economic opportunity and participation, education, health, and political activity may take 170 years to completely close, according to the World Economic Forum’s Global Gender Gap Report released on Tuesday.
The annual report, which surveyed 144 countries, analyzed the gender gap between men and women and concluded that women are on average worse off than men by 31.7 percent. While it found significant improvements in both health and education, women continue to chronically lag behind men in the areas of economic opportunity and political empowerment. As a result, it would take 170 years at our current rate of progress for the overall gender gap to be entirely overcome.
“Consistently, in the last three years, the rate of change is slowing down, and that’s starting to show up in economic gender parity numbers,” explained Saaladia Zahidi, head of employment and gender initiatives at the World Economic Forum, in a statement to Fortune.
One main reason she cites for this is that most nations don’t provide adequate financial support to care for young children and the elderly, thus forcing many women to stay home instead of working. The stagnation can also be partially attributed to automation eliminating traditionally female-centric jobs such as administrative and sales position, a factor exacerbated by women often not being as well-educated in the STEM fields (science, technology, engineering, and mathematics) where job opportunities are being created.
The nation with the highest rating in closing the gender gap was Iceland, followed by Finland, Norway, Sweden, and Rwanda. The United States fell 17 spots — to 45 due to — declining labor force participation among women, stagnation in female political participation, and methodological adjustments in how the survey is conducted.
By Matthew Rozsa
Matthew Rozsa is a professional writer whose work has appeared in multiple national media outlets since 2012 and exclusively at Salon since 2016. He received a Master's Degree in History from Rutgers-Newark in 2012, was a guest on Fox Business in 2019, repeatedly warned of Trump's impending refusal to concede during the 2020 election, spoke at the Commonwealth Club of California in 2021, was awarded a science journalism fellowship from the Metcalf Institute in 2022 and appeared on NPR in 2023. His diverse interests are reflected in his interviews including: President Jimmy Carter (1977-1981), Israeli Prime Minister Ehud Barak (1999-2001), animal scientist and autism activist Temple Grandin, Secretary of State Madeleine Albright (1997-2001), director Jason Reitman ("The Front Runner"), inventor Ernő Rubik, comedian Bill Burr ("F Is for Family"), novelist James Patterson ("The President's Daughter"), epidemiologist Monica Gandhi, theoretical cosmologist Janna Levin, voice actor Rob Paulsen ("Animaniacs"), mRNA vaccine pioneer Katalin Karikó, philosopher of science Vinciane Despret, actor George Takei ("Star Trek"), climatologist Michael E. Mann, World War II historian Joshua Levine (consultant to "Dunkirk"), Washington Gov. Jay Inslee (2013-present), dog cognition researcher Alexandra Horowitz, Libertarian presidential candidate Gary Johnson (2012, 2016), comedian and writer Larry Charles ("Seinfeld"), seismologist John Vidale, Democratic vice presidential nominee Joe Lieberman (2000), Ambassador Michael McFaul (2012-2014), economist Richard Wolff, director Kevin Greutert ("Saw VI"), model Liskula Cohen, actor Rodger Bumpass ("SpongeBob Squarepants"), Senator John Hickenlooper (2021-present), Senator Martin Heinrich (2013-present), Egyptologist Richard Parkinson, Rep. Eric Swalwell (2013-present), Fox News host Tucker Carlson, actor R. J. Mitte ("Breaking Bad"), theoretical physicist Avi Loeb, biologist and genomics entrepreneur William Haseltine, comedian David Cross ("Scary Movie 2"), linguistics consultant Paul Frommer ("Avatar"), Maryland Gov. Martin O'Malley (2007-2015), computer engineer and Internet co-inventor Leonard Kleinrock and right-wing insurrectionist Roger Stone.