Founder and Executive Chairman, World Economic Forum
Talent is one of the most essential factors for growth and competitiveness. To build future economies that are both dynamic and inclusive, we must ensure that everyone has equal opportunity. When women and girls are not integrated – as both beneficiary and shaper – the global community loses out on skills, ideas and perspectives that are critical for addressing global challenges and harnessing new opportunities.
This report finds that, globally, gender parity is shifting into reverse this year for the first time since the World Economic Forum started measuring it. Yet there are also many countries that have made considerable progress, understanding that talent is a critical factor for growth. These countries are poised for further success. This year’s analysis also reveals gender gaps at the industry level and, in particular, highlights that even though qualified women are coming out of the education system, many industries are failing to hire, retain and promote them, losing out on a wealth of capacity.
As the world moves from capitalism into the era of talentism, competitiveness on a national and on a business level will be decided more than ever before by the innovative capacity of a country or a company. In this new context, the integration of women into the talent pool becomes a must.
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. 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.
The Forum’s work in the System Initiative on Shaping the Future of Education, Gender and Work provides a platform for leaders from all stakeholder groups to collaborate, 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, the Forum’s Closing the Gender Gap project aims to accelerate the pace of change on gender parity through global dialogue and a national public-private cooperation model currently practised in several future-ready countries.
On behalf of the Forum, I would like to express my appreciation to Till Alexander Leopold, Vesselina Ratcheva, Richard Samans and Saadia Zahidi for their leadership of this project. We greatly appreciate, too, the innovative data collaboration with LinkedIn and the ongoing support of Ricardo Hausmann and Laura D. Tyson. I would also like to thank the whole team engaged in the System Initiative on Shaping the Future of Education, Gender and Work for their support in shaping this project. 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 policy-making, to businesses to prioritize gender equality as a critical economic 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.