Skip to main site content.
(JOEL SAGET/AFP/Getty Images)

Bridging the divide

Will Iceland be the first country to close its gender gap?

By WITW Staff on January 20, 2016

For the past six years, Iceland has ranked first in the World Economic Forum’s (WEF) assessment of gender balance in countries across the globe. Iceland’s ranking has, in fact, increased ten percentage points over the past decade, making it likely that the country will become first in the world to close its gender divide. “They’re at 87 percent of the gap being closed right now,” Saadia Zahidi, head of the WEF, told Quartz. “So they would be the first, if they continue at current rate of change.”

Iceland has scored so well in WEF rankings because women are well-represented across the board. Women have held the country’s presidential title for 20 of the last 50 years, and voluntary gender quotas have brought substantial numbers of women into politics. The country’s health and education divides have been closed for some time, and women have begun to play a significant role in the country’s economy. “It’s obviously a very small economy and talent, human capital, is very precious,” Zahidi said. “And so I think they have taken the approach where you don’t want to be wasting any of that talent, and you want to ensure that both women and men are able to combine their family or social obligations along with their ability to work.”

Read the full story at Quartz.


Women represent just 18% of Davos attendees, but gender parity is high on the agenda

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