What can the WEF tell us about gender gaps?

Welcome to post 2 everyone! I hope you’ve been enjoying playing with the date sliders, maps and graphs on last week’s data vis. The plan is that XYStats will bring you an original data visualisation once a fortnight. In between, I’ll post some related content from other organisations that are producing and using global gender data.

Last week we looked at women’s representation in national parliaments and the gender pay gap. Well, you may already be aware that the World Economic Forum (WEF) produces an annual Global Gender Gap Index which ranks countries on economic, political, education and health criteria. So, it won’t be a great surprise that this report has lots of interesting insights into both how much money women are bringing home and how well they are represented in politics.

average-annual-earnings-gender-equality-gap-women copy

As part of this work, every year the WEF attempts to put a figure on the gender pay gap. In the 2015 report, they found that the gap between men’s and women’s average annual earnings had doubled from a difference of $5,000 in 2006 to $10,000 in 2015. While both men and women earned more in 2015 than in 2006, men’s wages increased from $11,000 to $21,000 representing an increase of 90.9%, while women’s increased from $6,000 to $11,000, representing an increase of 83.3%. In order to narrow the gender pay gap, we would need to see the reverse trend, with women’s annual earnings increasing by a higher percentage than men’s. If men’s earnings continue to increase at a higher rate, women will simply never catch up.


The report also deals with the representation of women in political life. It finds that in this sphere, while progress has been made, there is still much to do. Globally just 19% of parliamentarians were women last year and only half of countries have ever had a female head of state. The report also shows evidence of the beneficial effects that gender quotas in elections have had on closing the gender gap. While gender quotas can be controversial, time and time again studies show them to be effective. Against such a stark reality that less than one fifth of our global parliamentarians are women, any mechanism that seeks to address this issue is surely to be welcomed. If you’d like to know more about gender quotas, visit http://www.quotaproject.org/aboutQuotas.cfm.

Overall, in looking at the scores across all 4 sectors, we see that health and education perform well, while politics and the economy remain the two frontiers of gender equality on which there is the most still to be accomplished.


You can read the full report, explore more infographics, and specific country rankings here: http://reports.weforum.org/global-gender-gap-report-2015/#read

Stop by next week for a closer look at what sectors men and women work in and how this affects their earnings.

Also, as this is a new blog, shares, likes, follows and comments are very welcome!


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