Ms. magazine  -- more than a magazine a movement



feminist wire | daily newsbriefs


United States Improves in Global Gender Equality Assessment

The United States made considerable progress toward gender equality in 2009, according to the recently released Global Gender Index Study (GGIS), an annual index released by the World Economic Forum. The GGIS ranks countries in terms gender equality, evaluating such factors as women's access to education, the presence of women in politics, equal employment opportunities and salaries, and health, according to Bloomberg.

The rank of the US has improved considerably over the past year, moving from number 31 in 2009 to number 19 in 2010. This is the first time that it has been in the top 20 since the World Economic Forum began releasing the index in 2005, according to the New York Times. The US scored 0.741 on a scale of zero to one, with one indicating complete equality.

The improvement is in large part due to the greater presence of women in the Obama administration. The ratio of females to males serving as department heads in the executive branch of government has increased dramatically from 2007 to in 2010, according to the study (see PDF). For every woman in a head executive position, there are two men in such positions in 2010, compared to more than six men for every one woman in 2007. Due to these increases, the United States now ranks 15 in the world for the number of women serving as executive department heads. However, it still trails behind in the category of political participation for women.

The report also indicates a significant increase in women's estimated income. However, the difference between men's and women's salaries has not improved in the United States since 2009 and has decreased somewhat since 2006, according to the report.

Of the 134 countries studied, 59 percent narrowed the equality gap between men and women, according to Bloomberg. Nordic countries Iceland, Norway, Finland, and Sweden received the highest rankings.

The head of the Forum's Women Leaders and Gender Parity program, Saadia Zahidi told CNN, "it's very encouraging that more countries are becoming aware of why it's important to reduce the gender gap and are starting to explore policies that may be needed." She also noted that gender equality fosters national economic growth and prosperity.

Gender inequality is greatest in Yemen, Chad, and Pakistan, according to the GGIS. The study also found that France faced a decrease in gender equality, due to the decline in the numbers of women holding government leadership positions.

Media Resources: Bloomberg 10/12/2010; New York Times 10/12/2010; Global Gender Index Study Report

© Feminist Majority Foundation, publisher of Ms. magazine

If you liked this story, consider making a tax-deductible donation to support Ms. magazine.



Send to a Friend

More Feminist News

8/31/2015 Afghan Women Awarded for Women's Rights Advocacy - Ten Afghan women activists were awarded a prestigious prize and honor last week for their courageous fight for women's rights. . . .
8/31/2015 Chicago Activists Continue Hunger Strike to Save Predominately Black Public High School - Chicago residents have entered the second week of their hunger strike protesting the closure of Dyett High School, in the predominately African-American Bronzeville neighborhood located on the South Side of Chicago. Parents and community members are calling on the Chicago Board of Education to keep Dyett - the only open-enrollment, neighborhood school in its area - open and accept a community plan to revitalize the school with a focus on science and green technology. . . .
8/28/2015 Alaska Court Protects Abortion Access for Low-Income Women - The Alaska Superior Court struck down a state law yesterday that would have severely limited abortion access for low-income women in Alaska. The state's Superior Court also struck down a Department of Health and Social Services regulation that placed narrow specifications on Medicaid coverage for abortions, requiring that Medicaid-funded abortions be determined by a physician to be "medically necessary." Last year, the Center for Reproductive Rights, the American Civil Liberties Union, and Planned Parenthood sued on behalf of the Planned Parenthood of the Great Northwest, claiming that the narrow definition of "medically necessary" arbitrarily established conditions designed to restrict the ability of low-income women to access abortion services. The law was temporarily blocked last July by an Alaskan state court judge. Superior Court Judge John Suddock ordered yesterday that the state be blocked from implementing this regulation, ruling that it placed an undue burden on low-income women seeking abortion services in Alaska. "By providing health care to all poor Alaskans except women who need abortions, the challenged regulation violates the state constitutional guarantee of 'equal rights, opportunities, and protection under the law'," the ruling read. "We applaud the superior court for striing down these cruel restrictions on women's health and rights that violate the Alaska Constitution," said Chris Charbonneau, CEO of Planned Parenthood of the Great Northwest and the Hawaiian Islands. . . .