International Women's Day: This is the gender gap in the world

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When March 8 arrives, information is published on the progress made to achieve equality for women at work, although each year the conclusion is that there is still a long way to go. This year is no exception.

Different reports that analyze the employment situation of women confirm that female unemployment is higher than male, women earn less than men and are unable to occupy managerial positions in companies.

The International Monetary Fund, in its latest report, estimates that it will take more than 100 years to close the gender gap, something that no country has yet achieved.

The gender gap has narrowed little in recent years

Progress in reducing the gender gap is slow, as confirmed by the fact that it has only been reduced by 3.6% between 2006 and 2018. Of the 144 countries analyzed by the IMF, only 89 have seen a positive trend with improvements in the variables that are analyzed to assess the gender gap.

The greatest inequality between men and women occurs in political empowerment, as it shows that only 17 countries have a woman as head of state. The differences are smaller in the field of health and education, where the gap could close in 14 years, although the economic opportunity gap will take more than 200 years to close.

If we talk about the labor market, the global rate of participation of women in the labor market is 48.5%, almost 30 percentage points lower than men, according to the ILO Women’s Employment Trends report. Progress has been limited, since since 1990 this gap has been reduced by 2 points, with the aggravating circumstance that since 2009 the rate of improvement is slowing down and, according to forecasts, it will stop between 2018-2021.

Parallel, the global female unemployment rate of 6% exceeds that of men by almost one point and the forecasts are that it will stay that way in the coming years. To close the gender gap, equal pay must be achieved because according to the ILO, the income gap between men and women is 20%.

Iceland is the country with the smallest gender gap

Source: IMF

The gender gap differs greatly from region to region. The highest level of gender parity is achieved in Western Europe (75.8%), followed by North America (72.5%) and Latin America (70.8%). Behind, are the regions of Asia and Africa. It is calculated that the gender gap will close in Western Europe in 61 years, 70 years in Asia, 74 in Latin America and 135 years in Africa if stronger measures are not taken to accelerate the process.

The ranking of countries is led by Iceland What country with greater gender equality, given that has closed the gap more than 85%It is followed by the Nordic countries Norway, Sweden and Finland. Among the top ten positions are also countries from Africa such as Rwanda and Namibia, Asians such as the Philippines or Central Americans such as Nicaragua. Developing countries occupy half of the top 30 positions in the ranking, while the United States is placed in position 51 and Spain, with 74.6%, occupies position 29 in the world ranking.

Country Position Global index
Iceland 1 0.858
Norway 2 0.835
Sweden 3 0.822
Finland 4 0.821
Nicaragua 5 0.809
Rwanda 6 0.804
New Zealand 7 0.801
Philippines 8 0.799
Ireland 9 0.796
Namibia 10 0.789
Spain 29 0.746

Source: IMF

On Iceland the gender gap has been reduced through a law that states that companies with more than 25 workers must obtain a certificate of equal pay, that shows that they pay the same salary to all employees who perform the same functions. In 2016 Icelandic women earned between 14 and 18% less than men but the goal is to close the pay gap in 2022.

In Spain the gender gap has worsened with the crisis

On Spain the gender gap, according to Minister Nadia Calviño, can mean a loss of 15% of GDP. The rate of participation of women in work is 52.2%, almost 12 points less than men. The economic crisis aggravated the situation so it has worsened in the last 10 years. The gender gap is evident by the fact that temporary employment is greater in women, earn 20% less than men and 70% of SMI recipients are women.

In order to correct the gender gap, measures have been taken such as the proposed law being processed to guarantee equality between men and women, the increase in the SIM and the deduction in inheritance tax linked to the incorporation of women to the councils of company administration, equality in paternity and maternity leave already approved or the universalization of schools from 0 to 3 years.

And what happens in management positions? The situation is not very positive either. Almost 46% of female managers perceive gender barriers in their company, according to the ESADE Gender Monitor. These barriers occur because there are more difficulties for conciliation with an increase from 27.23% to 46.26% in the last year, in which also wage inequality has increased from 33.51% to 40.82%.

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