Global Gender Gap Report

For those who enjoy lists, BeSpacific links to a World Economic Forum press release about the Global Gender Gap Report for 2009 which measures the size of the gender inequality gap in four critical areas:

  • Economic participation and opportunity – outcomes on salaries, participation levels and access to high-skilled employment
  • Educational attainment – outcomes on access to basic and higher level education
  • Political empowerment – outcomes on representation in decision-making structures
  • Health and survival – outcomes on life expectancy and sex ratio

The report shows that no country in the world has achieved gender equality and that Scandinavian countries top the annual list. With other countries making progress, the United States lost four places in the rankings this year coming in at number 31. In the US, labor force participation of women fell from 70% to 69% and the percentage of women among professional and technical workers fell from 57% to 56%. Countries which scored higher than the US on the 2009 Global Gender Gap Index in total and in order of best to worst are Iceland, Finland, Norway, Sweden, New Zealand, South Africa, Denmark, Ireland, Philippines, Lesotho, Netherlands, Germany, Switzerland, Latvia, United Kingdom, Sri Lanka, Spain, France, Trinidad and Tobago, Australia, Barbados, Mongolia, Ecuador, Argentina, Canada, Mozambique, Costa Rica, Bahamas, Cuba and Lithuania. The 20 worst countries in the ranking reading down from 115 to 134 are: South Korea, Bahrain, Algeria, Cameroon, Mauritania, Burkina Faso, Syria, Ethiopia, Oman, Morocco, Qatar, Egypt, Mali, Iran, Turkey, Saudi Arabia, Benin, Pakistan, Chad and Yemen.

Another take on the gender gap comes in a new paper called The State of American Boyhood published by Judith Kleinfeld in the journal Gender Issues which is available to Brooklyn Law School members through the Library database EBSCO Academic Search Premier. The paper says that stereotypes and lack of information hold back high school boys from going to college. After interviewing high school seniors in Alaska, the author found that some high school boys were unaware of the likely need for a college degree and that many believed that boys are just lazy or prone to peer pressure. In her article, Kleinfeld suggests that stereotypes may be limiting boys’ ambition. Kleinfeld, from the University of Alaska at Fairbanks, has clashed with women’s groups by questioning research showing discrimination against female students and faculty members and hopes her current work will offer more insight on the reasons why boys are struggling. Her newest study focuses on pressures on men in American society and changing concepts of manhood and challenges us to recognize that there is neither a “girl crisis” nor a “boy crisis” when it comes to education and that we need to pay attention to the difficulties of both girls and boys and bring these problems to the attention of families, teachers and mental health professionals.