On October 19, The Aspen Institute’s Council of Women World Leaders once again hosted an annual discussion on The World Economic Forum’s Global Gender Gap Report 2010. Saadia Zahidi, who has co-authored the report since 2006, notes that of the 114 countries documented in the report 86 percent have improved while 14 percent continue to lag behind.
While these estimates give the world some cause to celebrate, many areas remain disconcerting. Overall the world has been able to close 93 percent of the gender gap but continues to have major gaps in terms of economic and political participation; 50 percent of the gap in economic participation and opportunity has closed while only 18 percent of the gap in political participation has closed.
One of the most exciting and laudable achievements noted in the report is that strides are being made in countries across the economic spectrum. Lesotho and the Philippines, both of which are not high income countries, are listed in the top ten. Lesotho has made great investments in girls’ education and as a result it is the only country in Sub-Saharan Africa to have no gender gap in both education and health. The Philippines has also managed to close the gap in education and health but the driving force behind its success is the level of economic participation of women within the country.
In the coming year, the Forum plans to focus on the various success stories found around the world and analyze their interventions to discuss best practices that can be introduced on national and international levels.