By the numbers

What have we learned about the gender gap after a decade of study?

In its tenth year, an annual report highlights how the gap between men and women has changed around the globe — and how far we haven’t come

Women working at the Oriental Market in Managua. Nicaragua was a strong performer in closing the gender gap in the past decade. (ELMER MARTINEZ/AFP/Getty Images)

Celebrate, women of the world: we’ve kinda come a long way in the past decade! At least in some areas, according to projections from the World Economic Forum’s Global Gender Gap Report 2015 released this week. Since 2006, the report has provided annual updates on the status of the gender gap between men women across health, education, economic opportunity and politics in 109 countries — 103 of which have narrowed their gender gaps across the decade of study. All-in-all gender gap has closed 4 percent in the past 10 years, with the exception of the economic gap, which closed just 3 percent. Now, the breakdown…


Around the world, women are only now earning what men did a decade ago.
If your male partner shared the position you hold now, but in 2006, check out his old paychecks because you’re technically making the same amount today!

It will take another 118 years to close the gap completely.
You can bust out those 2133 party hats to get ready, but don’t hold your breath. We’re in for a long wait.

Six countries have seen conditions for women deteriorate over the past ten years.
Kudos to you, Sri Lanka, Mali, Croatia, Slovak Republic, Jordan, and Iran. Great work, guys.

Almost 40 percent of countries have wider health and survival gaps.
Yikes — in 39 percent of the countries surveyed, life expectancy and sex ratio gaps widened.


Women are the majority of university students in nearly 100 countries.
More women than men are enrolled at university in 97 countries. But the overall education gap between genders has widened 22 percent since 2006.

Latin America saw the greatest positive change.
If you’re in Latin America, it’s time to raise the roof — your region saw the largest absolute improvement in the past decade! Bolivia and Nicaragua were the strongest performers overall.

By the study’s standards, we’re 5 percent away from parity.
Overall, the gender gap is at 95 percent — an improvement from 92 percent, where it stood in 2006.

Relative it it’s own starting point, Saudi Arabia is considered “most improved.”
Compared to ten years ago, Saudi Arabia – a country known for its restrictive conditions for women – made the most improvements for economic participation and opportunity.

GGGR Global Top 10

The 2015 study compared 145 countries, a number that has grown since the researchers began their annual investigations. Compared to last year, the countries remaining at the top of the list with the most gender-equal societies are Nordic nations Iceland, Norway, Finland and Sweden. Three new countries joined the top ten (Slovenia, Switzerland and New Zealand) and the United States fell eight positions to 28th place. Compared to the 2014, China (91) lost 4 places and India gained 6 spots, climbing to 108. Women make up the majority leaders in only four countries and the majority of skilled workers in 68 countries.

Thirteen out of 14 variables used to create the index are from publicly available data indicators from organizations such as the World Health Organization, International Labour Organization, and the United Nations Development Programme.

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