The 2017 World Economic Forum’s Gender Gap Report that ranked Rwanda fourth, with closed 82% of its overall gender gap, scoring narrowly behind Finland.
The Global Gender Gap Report benchmarks 144 countries on their progress towards gender parity across four thematic dimensions: Economic Participation and Opportunity, Educational Attainment, Health and Survival, and Political Empowerment.
According to the report, Rwanda continues its steady climb since first entering the Index and has now closed 82% of its overall gender gap. This is mostly due to continued progress on its Economic participation and opportunity score, on the back of improved parity in estimated earned income and, particularly, a significant narrowing of its gender gap in the number of women in ministerial positions.
Combined with being the country with the highest share of female parliamentarians in the world (61%), it advances five spots on the Political Empowerment sub index, where it now ranks third globally.
Rwanda has also fully closed its Health and Survival gender gap for the first time, although its Educational Attainment gender gap remains open.
It occupies the fourth position with 82% after Iceland (87%) in the first position, Norway (83%) in third and Finland (82%) in the fourth position. It is followed by Sweden (81%), Nicaragua (81%), Slovenia (80%), Ireland (79%), New Zealand (79%) and The Philippines (79%) respectively.
The report shows that, on average, the 144 countries covered have closed 96% of the gap in health outcomes between women and men, unchanged since last year, and more than 95% of the gap in educational attainment, a slight decrease compared to last year, which marked the highest value ever measured for this sub index.
However, the gaps between women and men on economic participation and political empowerment remain wide. Only 58% of the economic participation gap has been closed, a second consecutive year of reversed progress and the lowest value measured by the Index since 2008 and about 23% of the political gap, unchanged since last year against a long-term trend of slow but steady improvement.
Weighted by population, the report indicates that this year, the average progress on closing the global gender gap stands at a score of 0.680, which means that an average gap of 32% remains to be closed worldwide across the four Index dimensions in order to achieve universal gender parity. Last year that average gap was 31.7%.
Despite this overall mixed picture and continued stalling of progress at the global level, the situation is more nuanced at the regional and country level. Out of the 142 countries covered by the Index both this year and last year, 82 countries have increased their overall gender gap score compared to last year, while 60 have seen it decrease.
Conversely, last year’s report had found negative outcomes in more than half of countries surveyed.
Moreover, while a number of countries and regions have crossed symbolic milestones on the path to gender parity for the first time this year, a number of major economies and high-population countries have experienced reversals on their past progress this year.
The report has also maintains that no country in the world has fully closed its gender gap, but four out of the five Nordic countries and, for the first time this year, one country each from the Sub-Saharan Africa, Latin America and the Caribbean and Eastern Europe and Central Asia regions of Rwanda, Nicaragua and Slovenia have closed more than 80% of theirs.
Yemen, the lowest-ranking country, has closed slightly less than 52% of its gender gap.