Sunday, October 20, 2019

Bangladesh retains second place in Asia on World Economic Forum gender gap index

  • News Desk
    Published: 2018-12-18 21:47:34 BdST

After jumping 25 notches last year, Bangladesh has retained the second place among the most gender equal countries in Asia this year, the World Economic Forum says.

The country has slipped only one notch to the 48th position, but is still ahead of all other countries in the continent except the Philippines, according to WEF’s The Global Gender Gap Report 2018 published on Monday.

The nearest country from its South Asian neighbours on the index is Sri Lanka on 100th with 0.676 points, followed by Nepal on 105th with 0.676 points. 

India is on the 108th position with 0.665 points while the Maldives is 113th with 0.662 points.

Pakistan is ranked 148th scoring 0.550 points, ahead of only war-torn Yemen.  

Bangladesh has closed over 72 percent of its overall gender gap while Pakistan managed under 55 percent.

“With the exception of Bangladesh and Pakistan at either end of South Asia’s regional table, gender parity outcomes are somewhat homogenous across the region,” the report says.

It also warns that a widening gender gap in terms of labour force participation remains in Bangladesh.

The WEF has given the points on the basis of economic participation and opportunity, educational attainment, health and survival, and political empowerment.

Gender equality in political empowerment has helped Bangladesh achieve the total score of 0.721.

With women on the positions of the prime minister, the leader of the opposition in parliament, and the speaker, Bangladesh is the fifth most gender equal country in the world in terms of political empowerment with 0.526 points.

The country also aims to ensure 33 percent female membership in its political parties within 2020 while political empowerment, according to the WEF, is where the gender gap “remains the widest”.

Even the best performer in this subindex, Iceland, still exhibits a gap of 33 percent, while Bangladesh is among the six other countries that have closed at least 50 percent of their gap.

As for economic participation and opportunity, it has been placed 133rd, 116th for educational attainment, and 117th for health and survival.

The WEF has ranked the United States 51st, the United Kingdom 15th and Canada 16th.

Iceland tops the list, followed by Norway, Sweden, Finland, Nicaragua, Rwanda, New Zealand, the Philippines, Ireland and Namibia.

Earlier in a report in September, the WEF said Bangladesh made improvements in creating equal opportunities for legislator, senior official and manager roles, as well as professional and technical roles.

Greater parity exists in the country’s Estimated Earned Income and Wage Equality for Similar Work indices, despite seeing the healthy life expectancy gender gap widen slightly, according to the previous report.