Moral Low Ground


World Economic Forum Ranks US 22nd in Global Gender Equality

A newly-released World Economic Forum (WEF) report on global gender equality ranks the United States 22nd out of 135 countries.

The 2012 Global Gender Gap Report ranks the US just behind Cuba and Canada and just ahead of Mozambique and Burundi. The Geneva, Switzerland-based WEF, best known for its annual meeting of international political, economic and cultural luminaries in Davos, based its rankings on a list of 14 indicators used to determine each nation’s gender equality gap. Each of the 14 indicators fell under one of four main categories: economic participation and opportunity, educational attainment, health and survival and political empowerment.

The 10 nations with the most gender equality for 2012 are: Iceland, Finland, Norway, Sweden, Ireland, New Zealand, Denmark, The Philippines, Nicaragua and Switzerland.

The 10 nations with the least gender equality are: Zimbabwe, Uzbekistan, Tunisia, Belarus, Angola, Yemen, Pakistan, Chad, Syria and Saudi Arabia.

The United States slipped considerably in the WEF rankings since last year when it ranked 17th. Both the US and Canada (21st) fell from the top 20 in 2012. The WEF cites “a small decrease in the secondary education ratio and in the percentage of women in ministerial positions” as the reason for the lower rankings.

The report cited “increases in the perceived wage equality ratio and estimated earned income ratio” as well as the “very high” literacy and primary, secondary and tertiary education enrollment as positives for the United States. But it noted the “below global average” level of political empowerment of American women– only 17 percent of national legislators are women.

The WEF report coincides with the Wednesday release of a study from the American Association of University Women that found full-time working women who recently graduated from college earn, on average, only 82 percent as much as their male peers.

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