World Economic Forum has released the 15th edition of the Global Gender Gap Report 2021, a little over one year after COVID-19 was officially declared a pandemic. The pandemic-related economic downturn has impacted women more severely than men, partially re-opening gaps that had already been closed.
According to WEF, gender parity has reduced 0.06 points due to the pandemic. According to the report, if current trends are kept in mind, the gap will close after 135.6 years.
The greatest gap remains in the political empowerment sector and the highest parity is in education where 95 percent parity exists.
With reference to the pandemic, women were affected worse than men, as early projections from ILO suggest 5% of all employed women lost their jobs, compared with 3.9% of employed men.
According to the report the Iceland and Finland have closed at least 85% of their gap being the countries with the highest parity, and another seven countries Lithuania, Namibia, New Zealand, Norway, Sweden, Rwanda, and Ireland have closed at least 80% of their gap.
The situation remains bleak for Quaid’s nation as out of 156 countries considered in the report, Pakistan ranked 153rd. Unfortunately, Pakistan only beat the war-stricken countries like Iraq, Yemen, and Afghanistan in that order. Pakistan has lost 2 ranks since last year.
Since we are always comparing Pakistan with India and Bangladesh, it must be noted that both neighbors ranked 140 and 65, respectively.
According to the report, in countries like Liberia, Yemen, Mali, Pakistan, Benin, Senegal, Burkina Faso, Togo, and Angola, less than 67% of the literacy gender gap has been bridged to date, compared to global 95%. In Pakistan, gender gaps in primary education enrolment are still as large as 15% or more. Pakistan is 144th among 156 countries when gender parity is measured, meaning one of the highest disparities for education exists in Pakistan.
The countries with the largest economic gender gaps are Iran (just 37.5% of the gender gap closed so far), India (32.6%), Pakistan (31.6%), Syria (28.5%), Yemen (28.2%), Iraq (22.8%) and Afghanistan (18%). Pakistan ranks 152nd out of 156.
In addition, the limited presence of women in senior roles shows a persistent ‘glass ceiling’ is still in place even in some of the most advanced economies. For instance, in the US, women are in just 42% of senior and managerial positions. However, in Pakistan it is one of the lowest in the world with women in only 5% of senior positions, meaning there is a 95% gender gap.
Although the global Health and Survival gender gap is almost closed, meaning parity has almost been achieved, countries like “Qatar (94.8% parity), Viet Nam (94.5%), Pakistan (94.4%), Azerbaijan (93.9%), India (93.7%) and China (93.5%)— where uneven access to health for women and pre-or post-natal sex selection persist.’ Pakistan Ranks 153rd among 156 countries, above Azerbaijan, India, and China, in that order.
In Political Empowerment, however, Pakistan entered the double digits, to a 98th ranking out of 156 countries, meanwhile, India ranked 51st.
Among 8 South Asian nations, Pakistan ranked 7th, above Afghanistan, with Bangladesh leading the chart.
If we discuss Pakistan alone, a Pakistani woman only earns 16.3% of what a man does. Few women participate in the labor force (22.6%) and even fewer are in managerial positions (4.9%).
According to the report, only 46.5% of women are literate, 61.6% attend primary school, 34.2% attend high school and 8.3% are enrolled in tertiary education courses.
“Women in Pakistan do not have equal access to justice, ownership of land and non-financial assets or inheritance rights,” the report highlights.