Canada ranks 16th in gender gap ranking

Robots and Lack of Child Care Leave Women's Wages Centuries Behind

The global list was topped by Iceland having closed more than 85.8 per cent of its overall gender gap.

A year ago was the first since the report began publishing in 2006 that the gap between men and women widened. To date, said the WEF, there was still a 32pc average gender gap that remained to be closed.

At the current rate of change, the data suggest that it will take 108 years to close the overall gender gap and 202 years to bring about parity in the workplace. Four of the top five countries closest to eliminating the gender pay gap are Nordic countries: In addition to Iceland, which tops the index, Norway, Sweden, Finland and Norway occupy the other top four spots.

While the gender gap in STEM is well chronicled, a new analysis conducted in collaboration with LinkedIn points to a glaring gender gap that is developing among AI professionals, where women represent only 22% of the AI workforce.

Yemen, Syria and Iraq have the biggest pay gaps with women being paid less than 30 per cent the level of mens' wages.

The WEF examined for the annual report in 149 countries in four areas: economic - such as salaries and opportunities to leadership positions, access to education, political participation, and health, about life expectancy.

Where Switzerland shows the greatest room for improvement is when it comes to economic participation, specifically the ratio of men and women in senior positions such as legislators, senior officials, and managers.

No country has closed the pay gap yet, WEF said, using data from institutions such as the International Labour Organization, United Nations Development Programme and World Health Organization. "In terms of political empowerment, the progress achieved over the past decade has started to reverse".

"The country's Health and Survival gender gap remains open for a second year, although its Educational Attainment gender gap remains fully closed".

And while China, like most other countries, has almost ideal equality in terms of health care, far more boys than girls are born each year.

Among the world's 20 leading economies, France fared the best, taking 12th place overall, followed by Germany in 14th place, Britain in 15th, Canada in 16th and South Africa in 19th.

"More than ever, societies can not afford to lose out on the skills, ideas and perspectives of half of humanity", said Klaus Schwab, executive chairman of the WEF.

More of a surprise is the fact that the top 10 features Nicaragua, in 5th place, two sub-Saharan African countries - Rwanda (6th) and Namibia (10th) - and the Philippines in 8th place.

WEF executive chairman Klaus Schwab commented, "Proactive measures that support gender parity and social inclusion and address historical imbalances are essential for the health of the global economy as well as for the good of society as a whole".

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