Friday, 26 October 2012


The UK Supreme Court ruling should mean that thousands more women could bring equal pay claims against their former employers. One hundred and seventy four former Birmingham City Council workers can now pursue compensation claims over missed bonuses after the council lost a court appeal. They now have six years to make claims.

The Global Gender Gap Report produced by the World Economic Forum shows that significant progress has been made in closing the gap in healthcare and education between women and men over the past six years. The report shows that women continue to struggle more than men to get top jobs and political decision-making positions.

Some 88 percent of the countries covered in 2006–2012 have improved their performance, but 12 percent have widening gaps. The report said that (on average) more than 96 percent of the gap in health outcomes and 93 percent of the gap in educational attainment has been closed.

Only 60 percent of the gap in economic participation and 20 percent of the gap in political empowerment has been closed. The report, which covers 135 countries representing more than 90 percent of the world’s population, was released a few hours after the failure of a European Commission proposal to set a 40-percent quota for women on the boards of listed companies.

Nordic countries are doing the best job of closing the gender gap. Kazakhstan (ranked 31st) moves up 18 places from its ranking last year due to a decrease in the gender wage gap and an increase in the percentage of women in parliament and ministerial positions. Moldova fell six places to the 45th on the ranking, mainly driven by losses in economic participation and opportunity.

Croatia gains one place to reach the 49th position with a minor improvement in the representation of women in ministerial posts. Serbia entered the Index for the first time in 50th position. Kyrgyzstan fell ten places to take 54th position, primarily due to a drop in economic participation and opportunity, as well as educational attainment and health. Russia has dropped to 59th position due to declines in economic participation and political empowerment.

Macedonia moves down eight places to 61st rank. The country’s improvement in the percentage of women in ministerial positions is balanced out by decreases in perceived wage equality and estimated earned income. Ukraine, one of the 20 lowest performing countries on the political empowerment subindex, remains in 64th place despite a slight overall improvement in score. Romania comes in 67th.

Georgia has climbed one place to 85th position. A decrease in its educational attainment score is balanced out by improvements in economic participation, health, and political empowerment. Albania ranks 91st, slipping down 13 spots from the combined effect of lower scores in perceived wage equality, estimated earned income, secondary education, and the percentage of women parliamentarians. Armenia falls eight places, ranking 92nd due a significant decrease in the estimated earned income ratio.

Tajikistan remains at 96th; it shows a slight increase in its overall score. Azerbaijan slips eight spots to 99th position, partly due to decreases in secondary and tertiary education. Iran slips to the 127th position due to a worsening of the estimated earned income ratio and Pakistan loses one place to 134th position due to a worsening in the perceived wage equality.

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