At the dawn of the 2020s, building fairer and more inclusive economies must be the goal of global, national and industry leaders. To get there, instilling gender parity across education, health, politics and across all forms of economic participation will be critical.
Over the past 14 years the Global Gender Gap Index included in this report has served as a compass to track progress on relative gaps between women and men on health, education, economy and politics. Through this annual yardstick, stakeholders within each country are able to set priorities relevant in each specific economic, political and cultural context.
This year’s report highlights the growing urgency for action. Without the equal inclusion of half of the world’s talent, we will not be able to deliver on the promise of the Fourth Industrial Revolution for all of society, grow our economies for greater shared prosperity or achieve the UN Sustainable Development Goals. At the present rate of change, it will take nearly a century to achieve parity, a timeline we simply cannot accept in today’s globalized world, especially among younger generations who hold increasingly progressive views of gender equality.
Fortunately, the pathways to accelerating gender parity have also become more evident. Companies must treat people with dignity and respect and offer equal opportunities to all members of the society, leveraging gender diversity and investing in all of their talent through ongoing upskilling and reskilling. Governments must create policies that provide talent development, integration and deployment opportunities for all genders, diversify the leadership pool and provide support to families and caregivers, in both youthful and ageing societies alike. And business and government must work together on creating a new economic and social narrative for action and on coordinating and speeding up the process of change.
At the World Economic Forum, in our Platform for Shaping the New Economy and Society, we are supplementing studies such as this annual report, with a growing portfolio of impact-focused initiatives. Our Closing the Gender Gap Accelerators work with advanced and developing economies to create public-private collaborations for rapid acceleration to economic parity, focusing on increasing women’s participation in the workforce, closing the pay gap between men and women, and helping more women advance into leadership roles and develop in-demand skills. Our Hardwiring Gender Parity in the Future of Work initiative is starting with a commitment framework for businesses to embed parity into their fastest growing professions. We are delighted to feature in this report a special collaboration with our partner LinkedIn exploring gender gaps in some of the most critical professions of the new economy. Finally, we have set ourselves an institutional target to at least double the participation of women leaders at our Annual Meeting in Davos over the next decade, as a symbol of the leadership shift that must occur globally to make our economies and societies more inclusive.
On behalf of the Forum, I would like to express my gratitude to Roberto Crotti, Thierry Geiger, Vesselina Ratcheva and Saadia Zahidi for their leadership of this project, as well as all members of the Platform for shaping the New Economy and Society team for their support. Additionally, this report and our broader work on gender parity benefits from the outstanding engagement of the Partners of the Platform for Shaping the Future of the New Economy and Society.
We are certain that this report will contribute to shaping mindsets and catalysing action towards the achievement of gender equality. We invite business and governments to join the Platform for the New Economy and Society to collaborate with us and with each other to hasten progress on this fundamental challenge of the new decade.
Founder and Executive Chairman,
World Economic Forum