The Global Gender Gap Index 2014:
The Global Gender Gap Report 2014 provides a comprehensive overview of current performance and progress over the last nine years. On average, in 2014, over 96% of the gap in health outcomes, 94% of the gap in Educational Attainment, 60% of the gap in economic participation and 21% of the gap in political empowerment has been closed. No country in the world has achieved gender equality. The highest ranked countries—Iceland, Finland, Norway, Sweden and Denmark —have closed over 80% of their gender gaps, while the lowest ranked country—Yemen—has closed a little over half of its gender gap.
The Index points to potential role models by revealing those countries that—within their region or their income group—are leaders in having divided resources more equitably between women and men than other countries have, regardless of the overall level of resources available. The detailed Country Profiles allow users to understand not only how close each country lies relative to the equality benchmark in each of the four critical areas, but also provides a snapshot of the legal and social framework within which these outcomes are produced.
The Global Gender Gap Index was developed in 2006 partially to address the need for a consistent and comprehensive measure for gender equality that can track a country’s progress over time. This edition of the Global Gender Gap Report reveals the trends observed in the data over the past nine years and seeks to call attention to the need for more rapid progress in closing gender gaps. Out of the 111 countries covered in the past near-decade, 105 have improved their performance, while 6 have widening gaps. In some countries, progress is occurring in a relatively short time, regardless of whether they are starting out near the top or the bottom of the rankings, and independent of their income. Yet in other countries, change is much slower or negligible. The Index points to potential learnings from those that have been able to close gender gaps at faster rates.
The Report continues to highlight the strong correlation between a country’s gender gap and its economic performance and also summaries some of the latest research on the economic and societal case for gender equality. Because women account for one-half of a country’s potential talent base, a nation’s competitiveness in the long term depends significantly on whether and how it educates and utilizes its women. The Report highlights the message to policy-makers that, in order to maximize competitiveness and development potential, each country should strive for gender equality—that is, should give women the same rights, responsibilities and opportunities as men. Four broad groups of countries are evident in the Index: (1) countries that are generally closing education gaps and show high levels of women’s economic participation, (2) countries that are generally closing education gaps but show low levels of women’s economic participation, (3) countries that have large education gaps as well as large gaps in women’s economic participation and (4) countries that have large education gaps but display small gaps in women’s economic participation.
The magnitude and particulars of gender gaps in countries around the world are the combined result of various socioeconomic and cultural variables. The closure or continuation of these gaps is intrinsically connected to the framework of national policies in place. The Index does not seek to set priorities for countries but rather to provide a comprehensive set of data and a clear method for tracking gaps on critical indicators so that countries may set priorities within their own economic, political and cultural contexts. We provide information in the Report on the policy levers and business practices currently in use around the world to address the economic gender gap.
New research is required to understand which policies are most effective in closing gender gaps and whether these are transferrable to other replicable and scalable. We hope that the information contained in the Global Gender Gap Report series will serve as a basis for further research on measuring gender gaps and policies that are successful and those that are not.