China goes backwards on global gender equality list but does better on education
Country comes in at 106th on World Economic Forum’s annual ranking, mainly dragged down by low representation of women in politics. It still has a skewed sex ratio at birth, with 885 girls per 1,000 babies
China has fallen in a global ranking for gender equality for an 11th year in a row, coming in at 106th among 153 countries, according to the latest study by the Geneva-based World Economic Forum.
The annual report released on Tuesday – which examined gender parity in health, education, political empowerment and economic opportunity – ranked China just ahead of South Korea in 108th place, India at 112th and Japan at 121st.
Nordic countries led the way in the “Global Gender Gap Report 2020”, with Iceland in first place, followed by Norway, Finland and Sweden.
The United States slipped two places to 53rd, which the researchers attributed to the economic participation and opportunity subindex, with the country going backwards on wage equality.
China was down three places on the list from last year. Although it had made progress by closing “two-thirds of its gender gap”, the report said China had made only marginal gains in gender equality since it began compiling the rankings in 2006. At the same time, many other countries had moved closer to parity, causing China to slip from 63rd place back in 2006 to 106th today.
The report said China’s ranking was mainly dragged down by its male-dominated political landscape – it ranked 95th on that subindex. Women held only two ministerial positions and made up only one-quarter of the National People’s Congress membership, China’s legislature, last year.
Leadership positions in the public and private sectors also largely remained the preserve of men, with one woman for every five men in such roles.
China fared better in education, having closed the gender gap with both sexes achieving universal literacy, according to the report.
But the country still has a skewed sex ratio at birth, with 885 girls per 1,000 babies – ranking it last on the health and survival subindex.
The study found that gender parity had improved worldwide overall, but the report concluded that the road to equality would be a long one.
“None of us will see gender parity in our lifetimes, nor likely will many of our children,” the report said. “Gender parity will not be attained for 99.5 years.”
Policymakers needed to take action to better equip younger generations, particularly in developing countries, it said.
And it warned that gender gaps were likely to get worse unless the problem was addressed now.
Key to resolving the problem was giving young people the skills they needed to succeed in the world’s future jobs, such as increasing the level of formal education attainment, the report said.
In the Asia-Pacific region, New Zealand was the best-ranked country in sixth place, followed by the Philippines in 16th spot. Singapore was just behind the US in 54th place, while Malaysia ranked just ahead of China at 104.
The lowest on the rankings were Syria, Pakistan, Iraq and Yemen.