Thursday, November 13, 2008

Gender Gap Rankings

World Economic Forum has posted their annual survey (pdf format) of the gender gap in different countries. They measure criteria like political and economic opportunities, access to health care and education. The index measures the male-female gap only; the absolute level available is not taken into account. A poor country with very limited health care resources may thus score highly on health care access if those limited resources are available equally to men and women, for example. An explanation of the criteria (from last year) is available as a pdf file here: index2007.pdf

My home country Sweden drops to third place after Norway and Finland, with Iceland and New Zealand rounding out the top five; the United States is at 27, ahead of Belgium (28) and Canada (31); China is at 57. Japan sits at 98, slightly ahead of Kuwait (101) and Nigeria (102) but behind Malaysia (96) and Indonesia (93). Sad to say, I don't think that ranking is in any way unfair. Japan does very well in health care access and access to primary schools but pretty much drops the ball on the other criteria. With a contracting population ahead, the last thing this country needs is to discourage half its citizens from being full economic and social participants, or for everyone to have to choose between family or working life.

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