Head of the Centre for the Global Agenda and Member of the Managing Board
Head of Education, Gender and Work and Member of the Executive Committee
Talent and technology together will determine how the Fourth Industrial Revolution can be harnessed to deliver sustainable economic growth and innumerable benefits to society. Yet if half of the world’s talent is not integrated—as both beneficiary and shaper—into the transformations underway, we will compromise innovation and risk a rise in inequality. This urgency is at the core of a fresh call to action to accelerate progress towards gender equality, adding to the well-established economic case for gender equality. Moreover, there is a fundamental moral case for empowering women: women represent one half of the global population and it is self-evident that they must have equal access to health, education, earning power and political representation.
Through the Global Gender Gap Report, the World Economic Forum quantifies the magnitude of gender-based disparities and tracks their progress over time. While no single measure can capture the complete situation, the Global Gender Gap Index presented in this Report seeks to measure one important aspect of gender equality—the relative gaps between women and men across four key areas: health, education, economy and politics. The Index was developed in part to address the need for a consistent and comprehensive measure for gender equality that can track a country’s progress over time. More than a decade of data has revealed that progress is still too slow for realizing the full potential of one half of humanity within our lifetimes.
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. The Index also points to potential role models by revealing those countries that—within their region or income group—are leaders in distributing resources more equitably between women and men, regardless of the overall level of available resources.
Through the System Initiative on Shaping the Future of Education, Gender and Work we bring together leaders from all stakeholder groups to devise solutions and share best practices to close gender gaps. In particular, because progress on education has not resulted in equivalent gains for women in earning opportunity, economic independence and leadership, we work with interested countries to set up public-private collaboration bodies to bring more women into the workforce.
We would like to express our appreciation to Till Alexander Leopold and Vesselina Ratcheva for their leadership of this project. We would also like to thank the whole team engaged in the System Initiative on Shaping the Future of Education, Gender and Work for its support in shaping this project. We are grateful for the ongoing support of Ricardo Hausmann and Laura D. Tyson. Finally, we are inspired by the leadership of the Stewards and Partners of the System Initiative on Shaping the Future of Education, Gender and Work.
It is our hope that this latest edition of the Report will serve as a call to action to governments to accelerate gender equality through bolder policymaking, to businesses to prioritize gender equality as a critical talent and moral imperative and to all of us to become deeply conscious of the choices we make every day that impact gender equality globally. We call upon every reader of this Report to join these efforts.