Performance by Subindex
Table 4 displays the rankings by subindex, organized highest to lowest by rank per subindex. On the Economic Participation and Opportunity subindex, 13 countries (two more than last year), including six from Sub-Saharan Africa—Burundi, Benin, Botswana, Rwanda, Namibia and Guinea—and two Nordic countries—Norway and Sweden—have closed more than 80% of their gap. However, 18 countries (13 from the Middle East and North Africa region) have closed less than 50% of the gap for this subindex, with Pakistan and Syria holding the last two spots. Thirty-one countries have scores below the world average (0.585, weighted by population) on this subindex. The Report’s Country Profiles include a wide range of additional contextual data, including on workforce participation, economic leadership, access to assets and technology, and the care economy.
In 2017, 27 countries have fully closed the gap on the Educational Attainment subindex, three countries more than last year. Benin, Guinea and Chad hold the last three spots on this subindex, with Chad having closed less than 60% of its education gender gap. In total, there are 18 countries where women still have less than 90% of the education outcomes that men have—one less than last year but a continued improvement over 2015, when this was still the case for 22 countries. Thirty-three countries have scores below the world average (0.953, weighted by population) on this subindex. While the Index takes into account four key indicators to measure the gender gap on education outcomes, the Report’s Country Profiles provide information on additional gaps between women and men—on out-of-school children of primary and secondary school age, education attainment rates, advanced and vocational degrees, and gender gaps across various fields of study.
Thirty-four countries (four less than last year) have fully closed their gender gap on the Health and Survival subindex. Azerbaijan, Armenia and China are the lowest-ranked countries, and no country currently has a gap bigger than 90% on this subindex. Only six countries have scores below the world average (0.956, weighted by population) on this subindex. While the Index takes into account two key measures of gender gaps, this year’s Country Profiles present additional contextual data that reveals differences between female and male health outcomes from infectious disease, non-communicable disease, accidental and intentional injuries and self-harm. Additionally, the Country Profiles contain detailed information on maternal health and domestic violence.
On the Political Empowerment subindex, only Iceland has closed more than 70% of its gender gap. While no other country has currently closed more than 60% of its gender gap, four countries—Nicaragua, Rwanda, Norway and Finland—have crossed the 50% threshold, while 34 countries, from across all world regions, have closed less than 10% of their gap (five less than last year). Lebanon, Qatar and Yemen have the lowest rankings on this subindex, having closed less than 2% of their political gender gap. Weighted by population, 95 countries rank below the subindex world average (0.227) this year. In addition to the indicators included in the Index, the Country Profiles present detailed information on women’s political participation, such as the number of years since the establishment of women’s suffrage, female heads of government to date, and the existence of voluntary political party quotas.
This year, the only countries to have fully closed their gaps on both the Health and Survival and Educational Attainment subindexes are five nations from the Eastern Europe and Central Asia region—Czech Republic, Latvia, Lithuania, Slovak Republic and Slovenia—as well as Brazil. No country has yet fully closed either its Economic Participation and Opportunity or Political Empowerment subindex gaps.
Figure 3 illustrates the range of country scores for the four subindexes. The population-weighted average for each subindex is highlighted by blue diamonds. The Educational Attainment subindex is closing in on the Health and Survival subindex, which has been stagnating for a number of years, to become the subindex closest to reaching universal gender parity. In fact, it has already done so for the 106 countries that have been consistently featured since the first edition of the Report. However, Health and Survival is also the subindex with the lowest spread of scores, with most countries clustering around a fairly high achievement point near parity, while issues remain primarily in a number of large-population countries with distorted birth ratios due to “missing women” and gender-specific gaps in access to healthcare. By contrast, despite much recent progress in a large number of countries, global outcomes on the Educational Attainment subindex remain more uneven, with a wider spread of scores. The widest range in scores is found on the Political Empowerment subindex, followed by Economic Participation and Opportunity.