UK plunges in gender equality rankings, lack of women in business – report

UK plunges in gender equality rankings, lack of women in business – report
The UK has fallen from the top 20 in the global rankings for gender equality, a study by the World Economic Forum (WEF) shows. Commentators attribute the fall to low levels of female economic participation.

In the annual Global Gender Gap report released on October 28, the UK was reported to have fallen 8 places in the rankings from 18 to 26, its lowest score since 2008. The UK was beaten in the rankings by middle income and developing countries such as Rwanda and the Philippines.

While the study showed that some aspects of gender equality, such as enrolment in education, had improved, the UK failed to secure a place in the top four of any of the measurable categories: health, education, politics and the economy.

The lowest scoring economic sectors showed that the UK lacks equality in both male to female ratio and wage equality, meaning that women who perform the same roles as men are less likely to be paid an equivalent amount.

Anne Franke, Chief Executive of the Chartered Management Institute, believes inequality is perpetrated by men dominating senior roles, claiming “the issue in the UK is that while there are more women in the workplace they tend to be in the lower-level positions.”

She further claimed that the discrepancies in pay between the sexes is contributing to the low economic score, adding “the pay gaps continue to be alarmingly large for men and women doing the same senior role.”

A study published last week by the research group Catalyst showed that in a study of almost 6,000 MBA graduates, high-performing females had consistently lower ambitions in fields such as engineering, manufacturing and natural resources than their male counterparts.

The WEF said “[The UK] appears to remain some way off, with the country ranking 48th in terms of both labor force participation and wage equality and 66th for estimated earned income.”

The results of the report further show the UK follows the global trend of extremely low female political participation; with a score of only 0.29 (out of a perfectly equal 1), the UK ranks 63rd in its levels of women in parliament.

Iceland emerged top of the WEF rankings, for the second year running, with an overall score of 0.857. Following the 2012/2013 trend, Finland, Norway, Sweden, and Denmark completed the top 5, making northern Europe the most equal place to live.

The UK was also out-performed by its western European allies. France, whilst scoring poorly on equal pay, entered the top 20 for the first time, and had the highest percentage change relative to its score in 2006.

Germany scored highly in the economic aspects of the report, particularly economic participation and opportunity, educational attainment and political empowerment.