The annual report ranks 144 countries on its Global Gender Gap Index to see how they compare in terms of gender equality on four key dimensions: economic participation and opportunities, educational attainment, health and survival and political empowerment.

South Korea slipped down to 118th among 144 countries in terms of gender equality in a World Economic Forum report released Thursday, largely due to lack of women's economic participation.

Overall, the average progress on closing the global gender gap stands at 68 per cent - meaning an average gap of 32 per cent remains to be closed worldwide, compared to an average gap of 31.7 per cent past year. Suparna Rao, a women rights activist, said, "Most female workers get paid very less compared to men". Reykjavik was able to ensure the equality of men and women of 87.7%.

Since last year's report, Russian Federation climbed four spots in the ranking to 71, buoyed by a higher representation of women in government. The most challenging gender gaps remain in the economic and health spheres.

In conclusion, WEF suggests India may need to employ more women in top elected government positions to maintain its top 20 ranking in 'political empowerment'.

Among the industries surveyed globally, large gaps were found in the availability of women talent for entry-level positions and the demand for hiring in industries, like manufacturing, and energy and mining, the talent pool of women graduates was found to be much larger than the demand for hires, it said.

WEF reported that Switzerland has one of the world's widest gender gaps for graduates in ICT fields, where women represent only 13% of the total number of male graduates.

The country's progress recently has not fully kept pace with that of the region's other top performers on the Economic Participation and Opportunity subindex, it said. "That's a message the world needs to absorb", Zahidi said. Only six countries have closed the gap in both of these pillars. The gap between men and women again began to increase.

Further, it said, sectors like energy and mining, manufacturing and real estate show the highest change in the percentage of the female hiring rate in the last 10 years. Until the 1990s, there were more boys gaining this qualification. Some say the type of teaching used, such as group work using social skills, can favour girls. Boys tend to choose subjects like economics, technology and science that lead them into higher-responsibility jobs. One woman was dismissed while she was on maternity leave.

However, the two-child policy has also introduced new challenges for working women.


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