World Economic Forum Index Ranks Countries By Gender Disparities

An index issued Tuesday by the World Economic Forum (WEF) “ranked 134 countries according to how much they had reduced gender disparities over the past year in the areas of economic participation, education, political empowerment and health,” the New York Times reports.

“Gender disparities were found to be widest in Pakistan, Chad and Yemen – unchanged from a year ago,” according to the newspaper (Clark, 10/12). Bloomberg adds that South Africa fell “six spots to 12th place, also because of the loss of women in government leadership jobs,” and Lesotho, which ranked eighth in the index, “was the only sub-Saharan country found to have no gap in education and health, and it has more girls than boys enrolled in primary and secondary schools” (Chandra, 10/12). writes that India is “among the lowest ranked countries at the 112th position,” because it lags in “economic participation, educational attainment and health” (10/12).

“Progress will be achieved when countries seek to reap returns on the investment in health and education of girls and women by finding ways to make marriage and motherhood compatible with the economic participation of women,” said Ricardo Hausmann, co-author of the report and director of the Center for International Development at Harvard University, BBC reports (10/12).  

Saadia Zahidi, head of WEF’s Women Leaders and Gender Parity program, said, “It’s very encouraging that more countries are becoming aware of why it’s important to reduce the gender gap and are starting to explore policies that may be needed,” Bloomberg reports (10/12).

The KFF Daily Global Health Policy Report summarized news and information on global health policy from hundreds of sources, from May 2009 through December 2020. All summaries are archived and available via search.

KFF Headquarters: 185 Berry St., Suite 2000, San Francisco, CA 94107 | Phone 650-854-9400
Washington Offices and Barbara Jordan Conference Center: 1330 G Street, NW, Washington, DC 20005 | Phone 202-347-5270 | Email Alerts: | |

The independent source for health policy research, polling, and news, KFF is a nonprofit organization based in San Francisco, California.