It’s no secret — no country in the world has achieved equality. No, not a single one.
To prove this point, the World Economic Forum created its Global Gender Gap to explain that yes, a big fat gap exists between women and men in the areas of health, education, politics and employment — basically the core building blocks of our lives. If men and women aren’t equal in those foundational areas, they aren’t equal at all.
So, every year since 2006, the Global Gender Gap Report comes out, reminding us that (1) we are doing pretty badly so (2) we had better move faster or (3) we will have a gap forever.
Why track and quantify this grim stuff? To prove that it exists. To show that gender-based discrimination is alive and thriving. And to give us ways to understand how far all societies are from reaching their full potential.
Sure, we’ve had overall gains between 2006 and 2022. Marginal gains. Not-enough-for-me gains. WTF-is-taking-us-so-long gains. And now we have the latest gender gap report to tell us that we need 132 years to close the gender gap. Anyone planning to be around to see it happen?!
Sure, we’re doing better than we were in 2006 (one would hope!) — but even our measly progress hasn’t exactly been linear. In fact, it’s been all over the place, impacted by whatever socio-political stuff is at play at the moment. Meaning wars, recessions, and messy business like global pandemics all contribute to widening the gender gap and impeding progress for women.
So, when the world moves in the wrong direction, so does inequality.
The gap has increased at several intervals — for instance in 2017, the first time the gap had increased in a decade. In 2018, it was estimated to take 108 years to close the gender gap. At the World Economic Forum annual meeting in Davos that year, they called 2018 “the year for women to thrive.” So much for that claim. The gender gap increased again in 2021 due to COVID. And we’re still feeling the shocks of this. Are we thriving yet?!
Head here to break it down by category, region, and country: https://linaabirafeh.medium.com/mind-the-gender-gap-60846e143994
The bottom line is this:
The 2022 Global Gender Gap Report was just released last week. And now you know that no, it did not bring particularly good news. I will say again: we need 132 years to close the global gender gap. One hundred and thirty two years.
Last year it was 136 years. We’ve gained a whole four years! Is that reason to celebrate? Absolutely not.
In 2020, the gap needed 100 years to close. In 2021, this jumped up by 36 years — a whole generation. So, our micro-movements downward really don’t mean much, when you look at it across time. They mean very, very little.
The report confirms what we have always known to be true: there is a direct correlation between gender equality and the level of development in a country. And I have said over, over, over that the clearest indication of a country’s potential for peace, prosperity, progress is not in the type of government it has nor in the state of its economy — it is based on how a country treats its women.
And women should not have to wait 132 years.
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