Results and Analysis
Country Coverage, 2018
Every year, in the effort to draw a complete picture of the global gender gap, we aim to cover as many countries as possible, within data availability constraints. This year, nearly 200 countries were considered for inclusion. To be included, a country must have data available for a minimum of 12 indicators out of the 14 that compose the Index. In 2018, we have been able to include 149 countries, including five new countries: Democratic Republic of the Congo, Iraq, Oman, Sierra Leone, and Togo. Of these, 106 have consistently been included in the Index every year since the first edition published in 2006. Out of the 149 ultimately covered in this report, 22 countries have one data point missing and 19 additional countries had two data points missing. Missing data is clearly marked on each relevant Country Profile.
The Global Gender Gap Report groups countries into eight broad geographical groupings: East Asia and the Pacific; Eastern Europe and Central Asia; Latin America and the Caribbean; Middle East and North Africa; North America; South Asia; Sub-Saharan Africa; and Western Europe. The classification of countries according to these categories is detailed in Appendix A.
Today, the Global Gender Gap score stands at 68%.12 This means that, on average, there is still a 32% gap to close. Figure 1 shows the distribution of this gap across all 149 countries covered by this year’s report. It highlights how the gap is still large across most of the 149 countries assessed. To date, no country has achieved parity, and only the top seven countries in the rankings have closed at least 80% of the gap. Among them, the top four are Nordic countries (Iceland, Norway, Sweden and Finland), one is from Latin American (Nicaragua, 5th), one is from Sub-Saharan Africa (Rwanda, 6th) and two are from the East Asia and the Pacific region (New Zealand, 7th, and Philippines, 8th). The top ten is completed by Ireland (9th) and Namibia (10th). Table 3 lists the complete global rankings.
As highlighted by previous editions, the progress towards parity continues to be very slow. The population-weighted average overall gap is virtually unchanged from last year, marginally improving by less than a decimal point. This slow but directionally positive trend at a global level is confirmed at a country level, too: for the second year in a row there have been more countries improving than going backwards. Out of the 144 covered both this year and last year, 89 countries have at least marginally closed their gender gap and 55 have regressed. Even when we focus only at extremes of the distribution the improving countries outnumber those that have regressed this year: six countries have increased their gap by at least 2%, and in four countries the gap has widened by 2% or more. Although progress continues to proceed at a very slow pace, and despite significant heterogeneity across countries’ performances, the fact that most countries are moving toward greater gender parity is encouraging and rewards the efforts of all policy-makers and practitioners across the world that work to achieve the UN’s fifth Sustainable Development Goal: Gender equality.