UK gender gap widens, according to new report

The pay gap between men and women in the workplace has widened and the UK has dropped out of the top 20 countries for gender equality.

The pay gap between men and women in the workplace has widened and the UK has dropped out of the top 20 countries for gender equality, according to a new report by the World Economic Forum (WEF).

According to the research, the UK has fallen from 18th to 26th place in the rankings of the Global Gender Gap Report, recording its lowest overall score since 2008.

The countries which scored best in the research were Iceland, Finland, Norway and Sweden, in that order.

The UK’s lower position this year was blamed on a lower score in economic participation, which measures the ratios of women in the workforce, wage equality and the number of women in senior roles.

Commenting on the research, the WEF said:

“[In the economic participation subsets the UK] appears to remain some way off, with the country ranking 48th in terms of both labour force participation and wage equality and 66th for estimated earned income.

“Unlike many of its peers, it has still yet to close its educational attainment and health and survival gaps (ranking 32 and 94 respectively), while it does moderately better in the fourth area we measure, political empowerment, where it ranks 33rd.”

While the UK failed to register in the top 20 in any of the report’s four categories – economy, education, health and politics – a number of middle-income and developing countries finished above the UK, including Rwanda, Nicaragua and the Philippines.

Lead author of the WEF report Saadia Zahidi said:

“Much of the progress on gender equality over the last 10 years has come from more women entering politics and the workforce. While more women and more men have joined the workforce over the last decade, more women than men entered the labour force in 49 countries.”

Meanwhile, a BBC Sport study into prize money has found that 30 per cent of sports reward men more highly than women. Of 35 sports that paid prize money, 25 paid equally and 10 did not.

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5 Responses to “UK gender gap widens, according to new report”

  1. JoeDM

    Get real. If woman takes 5 or 6 or more years off to bring up children then she is not going to have the same earning power as a man who hasn’t.

  2. whatithink

    I believe the comparison is between a man and a woman holding similar positions at a time. Agreed one may not advance in one’s career when taking long breaks, but the comparison isn’t age-based.

  3. Hilary Barnard

    It’s the backward trend that we should be looking at. It cannot be explained by relative responsibilities and time for childcare. Given the shape of the public sector workforce, cuts have disproportionately affected the employment of women, their pay and their chances to secure senior posts. My question is what are the barriers to the UK learning from the successes in gender equality in the Nordic countries?

  4. Marie

    IN Finland they have home care allowances for parent-carers and grandparent-carers (mainly grandmothers). I wonder – when someone is in receipt of this home care allowance are they deemed ‘economically unproductive’ and ‘contributing through provision of care’?? (With huge savings to the state – in UK it’s estimated as worth £343 billion to the economy but doesn’t figure in GDP).
    Sadly in other countries such as UK you are off the books, invisible if your ‘work’ is providing care – this is crazy, as it’s equal ‘contribution’ in so many ways – perhaps the most important social and economic contribution of all. In Finland family care and care responsibilities generally are better recognised, rewarded, valued.

  5. Richard Honey

    So doing essential work in raising children (who will hopefully grow to work and pay taxes) disqualifies you from earning the same pay of for the same work? In fact most women have to work throughout child-rearing years but still don’t get equal pay. If more men actually took time looking after children we’d hear less of these cock-eyed arguments implying women are less deserving of equal treatment. Get real.

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