Slight improvement for Switzerland in equality ranking

A paradise of equality? Reykjavik in Iceland. Keystone / Brynjar Gauti

Switzerland has jumped two spots, from 20th to 18th, in the World Economic Forum’s annual Gender Gap Report. Globally, progress is being made, but slowly, the report finds.

This content was published on December 17, 2019 - 00:01

The message published by the Geneva-based WEF on Tuesday was mixed.

Progress on achieving gender parity has been made, the organisation reports, but it is slow: at current pace, it will take just under a century for the world to reach a situation of full parity – as opposed to the 108 years estimated in 2018.

Female representation in the field of politics saw the most progress over the past year, with more women entering office. But it’s also the area where most remains to be done.

In the 153 countries analysed for this year’s report, women hold 25.2% of total parliamentary lower house seats and 21.2% of ministerial positions.

The other area seeing not just slow progress but deterioration is economic participation, WEF said: not only are women underrepresented at the top levels of management, they are also relatively absent from job fields currently witnessing the biggest growth – such as cloud computing, engineering, and artificial intelligence.

“Educational attainment” (i.e. schooling and literacy levels) and “health and survival” (sex ratios at birth and life expectancy) are the fields with highest levels of parity.

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The situation in Switzerland is similar. Placed 18th on the overall rankings, WEF found that while the country’s “political empowerment” score has been improved (notably by the influx of women into the lower chamber of parliament in October elections), politics is also the most unequal of areas.

The country also receives a poor score in terms of economic participation, notably when it comes to the proportion of women in high office and managerial positions.

Education and health are at almost equal parity, the report suggests, while in terms of life expectancy, women have a greater advantage over men.

The top countries in this year’s report (see table) were Iceland, Norway (the same top two as in 2018), Finland, Sweden, and Nicaragua.

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