Share of women in global workforce, politics falls: WEF report

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A Swiss research institute has placed Japan in 110th place in the world ranking on gender equality, citing the small number of female lawmakers and business managers. This is largely due to a narrower income gap between men and women, which stands at almost 51% in 2018, and the number of women in leadership roles, which stands at 34% globally.

Given current trends, it will take 107 years to close the global political empowerment gap, according to the report. The slow pace of improvement was largely due to stagnation in the ratio of women in the workplace and the declining political representation of women, the WEF report said.

"The equal contribution of women and men in this process of deep economic and societal transformation is critical".

The annual report uses the Global Gender Gap Index to see how countries covered in it compare in terms of gender equality in four key areas - economic participation and opportunities, educational attainment, health and survival, and political empowerment.

At eighth spot in the top 10 of 149 countries assessed, the Philippines rose two spots from past year closing just under 80 of its overall gender gap, the highest value for the country ever recorded by the Index.

Pakistan's scorecard showed that in terms of economic participation and opportunity, it ranked 146th, while in health and survival, its rank was 145.

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Narrowing the economic gender gap is especially important in "high-growth areas such as AI and computing", as "these will become ever more prevalent in all industries in the future".

Having closed more than 85.8% of its overall gender gap, Iceland holds the top spot in the Index for the 10th consecutive year. Only in seven countries are women paid more than 80% of what men are paid for the same work. It also studied the phenomenon of "missing women" in countries, including the Philippines, where families prefer to have sons over daughters.

"In the workplace, women still encounter significant obstacles in taking on managerial or senior official roles", the report said.

"In an era when human skills are increasingly important and complementary to technology, the world can not afford to deprive itself of women's talent in sectors in which talent is already scarce", said Klaus Schwab, founder and executive chairman of the WEF. It is Norway, Sweden and Finland, as well as the Central American Nicaragua, and the East African Rwanda to follow. "It's in their long-term interest because diverse businesses perform better", said Saadia Zahidi, head of the Centre for the New Economy and Society and Member of the Managing Board, World Economic Forum.

This marks the fifth year in a row that China's Gender Gap Index score has fallen.

Among other major economies, France ranked 12th, Germany 14th and the United States 51st.

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