Long Way to Go - It Will Take 202 Years to Completely Bridge the Gender Gap

01 Mar 2019
Global Gender Gap

The World Economic Forum’s Global Gender Report 2018 highlights the accomplishments and challenges that remain to achieve global gender parity. Every year, the World Economic Forum assesses the progression made towards achieving gender-equality in 149 countries[1] across four thematic dimension – Economic Participation and Opportunity, Educational Attainment, Health and Survival, and Political Empowerment. In addition, this year’s edition pays attention to the effects of the Fourth Industrial Revolution (4thIR), the rise of artificial intelligence, and the need for different skills.

According to the report’s findings, there has been a global improvement in narrowing gender gaps in health and education. On the other hand, gaps between women and men on political empowerment and economic participation, are far from being bridged. At the current rate of change, the report estimates that it will take 108 years to close the overall gender gap, 107 years to achieve political equality and 202 years to achieve economic equality between women and men around the world.  The extensive time-frame associated with gender equality highlights the continued global injustices that are perpetrated daily.

The report revealed that the world has closed 68% of its gender gap. The gap is still large across most of the 149 countries assessed. In fact, no country has achieved parity, and only the top seven countries in the rankings have closed at least 80% of the gap.

On a global scale, the progress towards parity continues to be very slow. the biggest inequalities are evident in the gender disparity with regards to Political Empowerment (77.1%), Economic Participation and Opportunity gap follows with 41.9%, Health and Survival have a significantly lower gap of 4.6%, closely followed by Educational Attainment at 4.4%.

On a regional level, the Middle East and North Africa collectively perform the worst in relation to gender parity (60.2%), closely followed by South Asia (65.8%). The report estimates that the gender gap will close in 153 years in the Middle East and North Africa. Regarding the EuroMed Feminist Initiative’s Southern Mediterranean partners, Tunisia has the highest gender parity, being global ranked 119th, followed by Algeria (128th), Egypt(135th), Morocco (137th), Jordan (138th), Lebanon (140th), Syria (146th) and Iraq being the lowest – 147th out of 149 countries.

Table of EuroMed Feminist Initiative Southern Mediterranean Countries gender parity scores on a global scale


Despite some advances and efforts aimed at narrowing the gender gap, full equality is not achieved in any country in the world. In too many countries, especially in the Arab region, there is a significant gender gap in economic and political participation, this backlash against women’s rights and their full participation in the economic, political and social life comes as a result to the repressive patriarchal societies, the increased power of conservative trends, militarization, war and occupation, and the lack of political will to move towards gender equality.

[1] EuroMed Feminist Initiative is saddened to note that the World Economic Forum has excluded Palestinians from its database.


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