Global Gender Equality: We’re Not There Yet

As the captains of industry gather for the annual World Economic Forum (WEF) symposium in Davos, Switzerland, it’s worth noting the parallels between that assembly and the WEF’s annual Global Gender Gap report. The WEF itself notes that less than one in five attendees at the Forum this week will be female (see Who are the women of Davos 2016?), up just 2% from two years ago.

GGG-2015-chartSo it is with the Global Gender Gap analysis. The 10th annual analysis was published in November, and the news release announcing the publication noted that women’s economic progress has “stalled markedly” over the past five years. In fact, the report’s authors note that, at the present rate of progress, it will be 118 (!!) years before we see economic parity between women and men – even though there’s been significant progress in terms of health and education. Political parity (more women in elected and appointed positions in the public sector) is even further away.

GGG2015-toptenThere’s been little change at the top over the past decade, with Nordic countries dominating the list. The top five countries: Iceland, Norway, Finland, Sweden, and Ireland. At the bottom of the list of 145 countries analyzed: Yemen, Pakistan, Syria, Chad, and the Islamic Republic of Iran. In the inaugural effort in 2005, the top countries (from among the 58 included that year) were: Sweden, Norway, Iceland, Denmark, and Finland.

To learn more, see how your country stands, and download the report and infographics, visit The Global Gender Gap Report 2015 web portal.

What Do Women Entrepreneurs Need to Grow? A New Initiative Keeps Score

It’s one thing to encourage more women to start their own entrepreneurial ventures, but what are the elements that can ensure their future growth and success? And what countries are doing a good (and not so good) job of providing a “womenabling” environment for growth-oriented women entrepreneurs? These are the questions asked – and answered – in the new Global Women Entrepreneur Leaders Scorecard, a data-powered diagnostic tool developed by ACG Inc. with support from Dell.

The research team (of which Womenable is a member) considered the elements necessary for supporting growth-oriented, high-impact women entrepreneurs – AND what data are currently available on a regular basis – gathering and combining 21 data variables into an analytical framework comprised of five main elements:

  • Business environment;
  • Gendered access to resources;
  • Women’s leadership and legal rights;
  • A gendered entrepreneurial pipeline; and
  • Potential female entrepreneurial leaders.

DWEN_Global-Scorecard-ResultsThe resulting analysis, conducted among 31 economies that collectively account for 76% of global GDP, finds that the following countries provide the environment most conducive to supporting high-impact women’s entrepreneurship:

  1. United States
  2. Canada
  3. Australia
  4. Sweden
  5. United Kingdom

At the other end of the list are countries that are not so supportive:

  1. Bangladesh
  2. Pakistan
  3. India
  4. Egypt
  5. Tunisia

One important conclusion of the analysis is that even among highly-ranked countries there is much room for improvement, as the scores – calculated on a 0-100 scale – only reach 71 even in the top-ranked U.S.

And what can all of us do to help the cause? Several recommendations for action offered include:

  • Narrow the gender data gap by measuring progress of women entrepreneur-focused initiatives;
  • Prioritize female-owned businesses in public and private supply chains;
  • Promote and empower women in the workplace;
  • Raise the visibility of female role models in business; and
  • Build entrepreneurship skills for girls by investing in STEM education.

Learn more and download the GWEL Scorecard executive report and methodology at THIS WEB PAGE.

The 2014 GGG: Improving With Age

For the ninth straight year, the World Economic Forum has published its Global Gender Gap Report, an analysis of the relative parity of women and men in 142 countries on four important dimensions: health and survival, education, economic empowerment and political participation.
As in previous years, countries in the Nordic region top the list as having the highest degree of gender equality, even though there’s room for improvement in all countries. Here’s the list of the top ten countries this year, along with their scores (which theoretically can range from 0 for complete inequality to 1 for complete equality):

1.    Iceland (0.86)
2.    Finland (0.85)
3.    Norway (0.84)
4.    Sweden (0.82)
5.    Denmark (0.80)
6.    Nicaragua (0.79)
7.    Rwanda (0.79)
8.    Ireland (0.79)
9.    Philippines (0.78)
10.    Belgium (0.78)

At the bottom of the list, with the least amount of gender equality, are:

142.    Yemen (.51)
141.    Pakistan (.55)
140.    Chad (.58)
139.    Syria (.58)
138.    Mail (.58)
137.    Iran (.58)
136.    Cote d’Ivoire (.59)
135.    Lebanon (.59)
134.    Jordan (.60)
133.    Morocco (.60)

What’s most interesting, however, is the fact that 111 countries have been tracked for all nine years, so there’s now a growing body of knowledge with respect to areas of improvement and decline. Some of the most noteworthy trends include:

  • Among the four pillars of the GGG, the gender gap is narrowest in the area of health and survival, with a 0.96 rating globally. While 35 countries have closed this gap entirely, this is the only subindex in which gender parity has declined over the nine years of analysis. At the other end of the gender gap spectrum, the ratio of the political empowerment of women compared to that of men remains at just 0.21 among the 111 nations tracked over the past nine years. This pillar, however, has seen the most improvement since 2006.
  • Regionally, Latin America has seen the largest absolute reduction in their overall gender gap, with 4.2% of their gap narrowed since 2006. At the other end of the spectrum, the Asia-Pacific region is the only region in which the gender gap has widened, by 3.2%.
  • Between 2006 and 2014, 105  of 111 countries have made progress overall, while just six countries have regressed relative to their starting point. The countries that have seen the largest reductions in their gender gaps, relative to where they were ranked in 2006, are: Nicaragua, Nepal, France, Ecuador, and Saudi Arabia.

The six countries that have seen a worsening of their gender gaps in the areas of health, education, economic participation and political empowerment since 2006 are: Croatia, Jordan, Macedonia, Mali, Sri Lanka and Tunisia.

With nearly a decade’s worth of data made public through these reports, what are the lessons we can learn? First and foremost, while there is indeed a vast difference in gender equality between #1 Iceland and #142 Yemen, there is room for improvement in every economy – especially with respect to political inclusion and economic empowerment. While health and education have seen tremendous gains over the past decade, women’s voices are frequently absent from political and economic decision-making – to the detriment of those county’s economic health and social stability.

Secondly, parity does not necessarily equal empowerment. Closing gender gaps, while an important indicator of overall well-being, should not lead us to think that our womenabling work is done. Improving the overall level of health, education, political inclusion and economic empowerment for both women and men is important as well.

Finally, having nearly a decade’s worth of data increases our level of insight and analysis and shows us that, while there has been improvement in nearly every country since 2006, there has been some decline – both within some individual countries and regionally in the Asia-Pacific region. Having information such as this on a consistent and detailed basis can inform policymaking and fuel advocacy. OK, womenablers, on your mark, set, go!

Visit to learn more, see where your country ranks, and to download the complete report. And here’s a brief 2-minute video explaining the impetus behind the GGG initiative.

2nd Annual Gender-GEDI Report Reveals Most Womenabling Economies

Yesterday, Dell hosted the fifth gathering of the Dell Women’s Entrepreneur Network (#DWEN) in its hometown, Austin Texas. In addition to sharing their own stories of struggle and success, these women of accomplishment also saw Dell release their second annual Gender Global Entrepreneurship and Development Index report (also known by the moniker #Gender-GEDI). The Index analyzes the conditions favorable for high-growth potential women entrepreneurs – including laws, programs, and individual characteristics. This year saw the analysis expand from 17 to 30 countries, which collectively account for 66% of the world’s female population and 75% of global GDP. The analysis finds that:Woman hiking to Everest basecamp

  • The most womenabling economies in the world are the United States, Australia and Sweden, with scores of 83, 80 and 73, respectively. They are followed by France and Germany (tied at 67), Chile (55), the United Kingdom (54) and Poland (51);
  • With the top tier economies receiving scores of 51 to 83 on a 0-100 scale, there is room for improvement. Indeed, the other 22 countries received scores under 50, including four countries (Uganda, Egypt, Bangladesh and Pakistan) receiving Gender-GEDI scores under 20;
  • Among the 17 countries included in both the 2013 and 2014 Gender GEDI Index reports, four increased their ranking and four declined. Japan improved the most, up three places from 12th to 9th. Brazil jumped two places, from 14th to 12th. The biggest decline was seen in Malaysia, which dropped four spots, from 9th to 13th; and
  • When comparing the rankings of countries included in the Gender-GEDI analysis with those also included in the non-gendered GEDI rankings, ten countries rank better for high-potential women’s entrepreneurship than for general entrepreneurial conditions. In alphabetical order, they are: Bangladesh, Brazil, China, Germany, Ghana, Mexico, Panama, Russia, South Africa, and Thailand.

Read more about the report’s highlights in the study news release, and click HERE to learn more about the Gender-GEDI and how it is constructed. And for you fellow statistical mavens, click HERE to download and read the 46-page executive report. A more complete report, including background tables and more country-level detail, will be available soon – and when it is, you’ll be able to find it on Womenable’s Reference Library web page.

Charting Trends in Gender Equality

Since 2006, the World Economic Forum has published its Global Gender Gap report – an accounting of the relative position of women relative to men in 136 economies along four dimensions: 1) health and survival; 2) educational attainment; 3) economic participation; and 4) political empowerment.

male-female-symbolsAnd, again, the Nordic economies top the list. Leading the way is Iceland – ranked at #1 for the 5th straight year – followed by Finland, Norway and Sweden. The Philippines rounds out the top five, jumping up from 8th position last year and knocking Ireland out of the top five.

At the other end of the list are: Yemen, ranked 136th out of 136 economies; Pakistan; Chad; Syria; and Mauritania.

More interesting than the current rankings, perhaps, are the changes over time, since the analysis is now in its eighth year. First off, here are the stalwart eight – the countries that have attained a top ten ranking in all eight years:

  • Denmark
  • Finland
  • Iceland
  • Ireland
  • New Zealand
  • Norway
  • Philippines
  • Sweden

Secondly, there are five countries of note, who could be said to make up the “most improved” list. They are:

  •  Switzerland, ranked 26 in 2006 and 9 in 2013
  • Nicaragua, which has risen from a ranking of 62 in 2006 to 10th place this year
  • Ecuador, up from 82 to 25
  • Bolivia, up from 87 to 27
  • Malawi, ranked 81 in 2006 and 39 this year

Where does your country rank on this list? CLICK HERE to find out!