Pakistan’s gender parity is rated 142 out of 146 nations in the World Economic Forum’s (WEF) newly issued Global Gender Gap Report 2023, which is the highest position since 2006. The report assesses gender equality across four key dimensions: economic participation and opportunity, educational attainment, health and survival, and political empowerment. Pakistan has achieved great progress in several areas, while being towards the bottom of regional and worldwide rankings. Let’s explore the report’s results.
Economic Participation and Opportunity
Within the sub-indicator of economic participation and opportunities, Pakistan has been ranked 143rd. The country’s labor-force participation ranks 140th, while its position on wage equality for similar work is at 71st place. In terms of estimated earned income, Pakistan stands at 137th, and when it comes to representation of women in legislative, senior official, and managerial positions, it ranks 139th. Additionally, the country is positioned at 132nd in terms of professional and technical workers.
In the educational attainment dimension, Pakistan’s ranking for 2023 is 138th. The country’s literacy rate stands at 137th place, indicating room for improvement. With rankings of 132nd and 104th, respectively, there has been improvement in enrolment rates for secondary and postsecondary education.
Health and Survival
Pakistan’s position in the health and survival dimension is at 132nd. While the sex ratio at birth (male births per female births) ranks first, indicating a slight preference for male children, the healthy life expectancy of women is at 140th place.
Pakistan’s ranking in the political empowerment dimension is 95th. Women are 94th in terms of representation in parliament, and 126th in terms of cabinet roles. Pakistan is ranked 36th in terms of the number of years that a female or male head of state has been in power over the previous fifty years.
Despite the low rankings and disparities, Pakistan has shown progress in several indicators within the economic participation and opportunity sub-index. Notably, there has been an increase in the share of women technical workers and achievement of parity in wage equality for similar work. Furthermore, the country has witnessed gradual advancements in parity in literacy rates and enrollment in secondary and tertiary education, resulting in 82.5 percent gender parity on the educational attainment sub-index.
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Pakistan Makes Strides in Gender Parity
Despite the challenges, Pakistan has achieved parity in the sex ratio at birth, contributing to a 1.7 percentage point increase in the sub-index parity since 2022. However, the widest gender gap in Pakistan exists in the domain of political empowerment, with a gap of 15.2 percent. The country has had female heads of state for a total of 4.7 years throughout the past 50 years, and women make up a modest fraction of ministers and parliamentarians.
Call for “Concerted Action”
Saadia Zahidi, Managing Director of the World Economic Forum, commented on the Global Gender Gap Report 2023, noting that while some parts of the world are witnessing partial recoveries in gender parity, others are experiencing deteriorations due to new crises. Although progress has been made in health and education, political empowerment progress remains stagnant, and women’s economic participation has regressed instead of recovering. Urgent and collaborative action is required to accelerate progress towards gender parity, benefiting not only women and girls but also economies and societies at large.
The report reveals that no country has yet achieved full gender parity. The gender gap has been decreased by at least 80% in the top nine countries, which also include Germany, Nicaragua, Namibia, Sweden, Norway, Finland, New Zealand, and Lithuania. Iceland in particular has reduced its gender gap by more than 90%, making it the most gender-equal nation for the fourteenth year in a row.
In the 2023 index covering 146 countries, the gender gaps in health and survival, educational attainment, economic participation and opportunity, and political empowerment have closed by 96 percent, 95.2 percent, 60.1 percent, and 22.1 percent, respectively. However, at the current rate of progress, it will take 162 years to close the political empowerment gender gap, 169 years for economic participation and opportunity, and 16 years for educational attainment.
South Asia’s Progress
Southern Asia, including countries like India, Pakistan, and Bangladesh, has achieved 63.4 percent gender parity, the second-lowest score among eight regions. While there has been a slight increase of 1.1 percentage points since the previous edition, achieving full parity in the region will take approximately 149 years. Bangladesh, Bhutan, and Sri Lanka are the best-performing countries in the region, while Pakistan, Iran, and Afghanistan are at the bottom of both regional and global rankings.
Global Gender Parity and Economic Participation
The report indicates that globally, gender parity has recovered to pre-COVID-19 levels. However, progress has stagnated due to converging crises. Although there has been a little improvement in gender parity due to the greater rates at which women have entered the workforce than males, large discrepancies still exist in the labor market. Women also face higher unemployment rates compared to men globally, with around 4.5 percent unemployment for women and 4.3 percent for men.
Addressing Gender Gaps
The Global Gender Gap Report 2023 emphasizes the need to increase women’s economic participation and achieve gender parity in leadership positions, both in business and government. Collective and bold action by leaders from the private and public sectors is essential to accelerate progress and ignite renewed growth and resilience while addressing gender gaps in households, societies and economies. Read more article here.
Pakistan’s ranking in the Global Gender Gap Report 2023 highlights the challenges the country faces in achieving gender equality across various dimensions. Even while increases in economic involvement, educational achievement, and parity advancement have been seen, there is still a long way to go. Efforts to address gender disparities and promote equal opportunities remain crucial in advancing gender equality and creating a more inclusive society in Pakistan.