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Why Gender Income Gap could take 170 years to Close

Friday, 28 Oct 2016


World Economic Forum renews calls for action.

The income gap between men and women will take 170 years to close worldwide unless policymakers and other stakeholders move to address it, according to the World Economic Forum (WEF).

The WEF’s latest global gender gap report, released this week, finds that the time needed to achieve economic parity has fallen back to 2008 levels.

While the same report last year predicted economic parity between men and women would take 118 years – a result that had been fairly consistent since 2008 – “at the current rate of change, and given the widening economic gender gap since last year, it will [now] not be closed for another 170 years,” the index’s authors said.

The report benchmarks national gender gaps on economic, education, health and political criteria, and presents it as an index.

Australia ranks 46th overall in the index; while it tops the world in educational attainment, it bottoms out on other measures, particularly economic. New Zealand, by contrast, ranks overall 9th in the world.

The report’s authors said Australia’s position reflected in part “the continued existence of a gender gap in income for Australia.”

Other disparities could be closed sooner; the report predicted it could take a decade to reduce the education–specific gender gap worldwide “to parity”.

The blowout in the income gap, in particular, presented an opportunity and call to action, the report’s authors said.

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