The World Economic Forum has compiled its yearly (since 2005) Global Gender Gap Index and guess what? The United States isn’t even in the top ten. At Number 31, we’ve fallen eight places from where we were in 2006; in comparison South Africa moved from 22nd to 6th in one year.
So what why does this matter?
The Global Gender Gap Report measures the size of the gender inequality gap in four critical areas:
1) Economic participation and opportunity – outcomes on salaries, participation levels and access to high-skilled employment
2) Educational attainment – outcomes on access to basic and higher level education
3) Political empowerment – outcomes on representation in decision-making structures
4) Health and survival – outcomes on life expectancy and sex ratio
The Index’s scores can be interpreted as the percentage of the gap that has been closed between women and men.
The point of the Index is to showcase the gains as examples of what can and is being done to narrow that gap. It also publicizes the losses as cautionary tales. The Index’s authors believe that a country that doesn’t value its feminine resources will be weaker economically, educationally, politically, even physically. Women are like canaries in the coal mines. If things don’t go well for them, the whole country is going to suffer.
Women don’t realize how important they are in the overall scheme of things. They need to fight for their rights; by doing so they’re also fighting for their society. It would be nice if men would learn that lesson as well. Perhaps the Global Gender Gap Indexes will help them to realize what they’re doing to their countries when they don’t promote the welfare of women.