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Gender gap 'widening' in UK business, claims WEF

29 Oct 2014

The World Economic Forum (WEF) has found that the UK has fallen in the rankings of its Global Gender Gap Report, showing a steady decline since 2006.

The report considers four categories for each country: economy, education, health and politics. Britain failed to make the top 20 in any category, after sliding from 18th to 26th overall, largely due to low ‘economic participation' which considers women in the workforce and wage equality.

Speaking about economic participation, the WEF said the UK ‘appears to remain some way off, with the country ranking 48th in terms of both labour force participation and wage equality and 66th for estimated earned income’.

It added: ‘Unlike many of its peers, it has still yet to close its educational attainment and health and survival gaps, while it does moderately better in the fourth area we measure, political empowerment, where it ranks 33rd’.

However, overall the ‘global’ gender gap has closed significantly, with 105 of 111 countries becoming more equal since 2005, according to the authors of the report. The top of the list is dominated by northern European countries, with Iceland, Finland, Norway, Sweden and Denmark occupying the first five places.

The UK is one of only six countries to have become ‘less equal’, primarily due to a slip in wage equality. Some critics have attributed this to Britain’s usually fast economic recovery benefitting male workers more than female, while others see the structure and costs of childcare as a main contributing factor.

The full WEF report can be viewed here: reports.weforum.org/global-gender-gap-report-2014