About The Global Gender Gap Index
The Global Gender Gap Index examines the gap between men and women in four fundamental categories (subindexes): Economic Participation and Opportunity, Educational Attainment, Health and Survival and Political Empowerment. Table 1 displays all four of these subindexes and the 14 different indicators that compose them, along with the sources of data used for each.
Economic Participation and Opportunity
This subindex is captured through three concepts: the participation gap, the remuneration gap and the advancement gap. The participation gap is captured using the difference in labour force participation rates. The remuneration gap is captured through a hard data indicator (ratio of estimated female-to-male earned income) and a qualitative variable calculated through the World Economic Forum’s Executive Opinion Survey (wage equality for similar work). Finally, the gap between the advancement of women and men is captured through two hard data statistics (the ratio of women to men among legislators, senior officials and managers, and the ratio of women to men among technical and professional workers).
In this subindex, the gap between women’s and men’s current access to education is captured through ratios of women to men in primary-, secondary- and tertiary-level education. A longer-term view of the country’s ability to educate women and men in equal numbers is captured through the ratio of the female literacy rate to the male literacy rate.
Health and Survival
This subindex provides an overview of the differences between women’s and men’s health. To do this, we use two indicators. The first is the sex ratio at birth, which aims specifically to capture the phenomenon of “missing women” prevalent in many countries with a strong son preference. Second, we use the gap between women’s and men’s healthy life expectancy, calculated by the World Health Organization. This measure provides an estimate of the number of years that women and men can expect to live in good health by taking into account the years lost to violence, disease, malnutrition or other relevant factors.
This subindex measures the gap between men and women at the highest level of political decision-making, through the ratio of women to men in minister-level positions and the ratio of women to men in parliamentary positions. In addition, we include the ratio of women to men in terms of years in executive office (prime minister or president) for the last 50 years. A clear drawback in this category is the absence of any indicators capturing differences between the participation of women and men at local levels of government. Should such data become available at a global level in future years, they will be considered for inclusion in the Global Gender Gap Index.
Out of the 110 countries that have been involved every year since 2006, 95 (86%) have improved their performance over the last four years, while 15 (14%) have shown widening gaps. Ten countries have closed the gap on both the Health and Survival and Educational Attainment subindexes. No country has closed the economic participation gap or the political empowerment gap. On the Economic Participation and Opportunity subindex, the highest-ranking country (Norway) has closed over 84% of its gender gap, while the lowest ranking country (Syria) has closed only 25% of its economic gender gap. There is similar variation in the Political Empowerment subindex. The highest-ranking country (Iceland) has closed almost 75% of its gender gap whereas the two lowest-ranking countries (Brunei Darussalam and Qatar) have closed none of the political empowerment gap according to this measure.