Gender gap report: Equal pay now 217 years away

The World Economic Forum has said that it will take 217 years until women have equal pay and representation in the workplace. It's the second year that the organization has recorded worsening economic inequality.

The global pay gap between men and women has widened to its largest figure in nearly a decade, according to a World Economic Forum (WEF) study published on Thursday.

Society | 20.10.2017

The Swiss nonprofit's annual "Global Gender Gap Report" said it will now take 217 years before women have equal representation in the workplace and earn as much as men.

Last year, WEF said that economic equality would be achieved in 170 years, while in 2015 they said it would take 118 years.

"In 2017 we should not be seeing progress toward gender parity shift into reverse," said Saadia Zahidi, WEF's head of Gender Parity and Human Capital.

Read moreBerlin and beyond: Keep working, women

"Gender equality is both a moral and economic imperative. Some countries understand this and they are now seeing dividends from the proactive measures they have taken to address their gender gaps," Zahidi said.

The WEF report examines four areas: economic participation (including participation in the workforce, wages and job advancement), educational access, political participation and health (such as life expectancy).

Audios and videos on the topic

The report notes that no country has closed the pay gap, with economic inequalities proving to be some of the most difficult stumbling blocks to equality.

Women fared better in education globally, where equality could be achieved within 13 years. The WEF said that despite low figures in political participation, slow and steady progress in the area means that the gap could be closed in 99 years.

Read moreWomen's rights in the Islamic world

Related Subjects

Culture

Alice Schwarzer (*1942)

In fall 1975, Schwarzer released her book "The Little Difference and Its Huge Consequences," in which she analyzes sex as a power play between men and women. It became a bestseller, making Alice Schwarzer the best-known and most divisive feminist in Germany. She has been publishing "Emma" since 1977. Here's a look at women who have preceded and succeeded Schwarzer in the fight for equality.

Culture

Olympe de Gouges (1748-1793)

The French revolutionary was a pioneer in the struggle for women's rights. In 1791, Olympe de Gouges wrote a "Declaration of the Rights of Woman and the Female Citizen" in response to the 1789 declaration of human and civil rights, which didn't take women into account. In her text, she wrote that women are born free and are equal to men in all of their rights.

Culture

Sojourner Truth (1797-1883)

Activist Sojourner Truth made a connection between the rights of slaves in the United States and those of women. She campaigned for both the abolition of slavery and women's suffrage. Her speech "And ain't I a woman?" which she held at a women's rights convention in Ohio in 1851, went down in the history books.

Culture

Louise Otto-Peters (1819-1895)

Louise Otto-Peters is considered the founder of the German women's rights movement. In 1843, she became famous for saying, "The participation of women in the interests of the state is not a right, but a duty." Otto-Peters co-founded Germany's first feminist organization, the Allgemeiner Deutscher Frauenverein, in 1865.

Culture

Hedwig Dohm (1831-1919)

In 1874, she wrote "The Scientific Emancipation of Women." Hedwig Dohm called for women's suffrage and unrestricted access to universities, making her a radical pioneer of the German feminist movement. According to her motto "Human rights know no gender," Dohm demanded equality across the board.

Culture

Emily Davison (1872-1913)

British sufragette Emily Davison was arrested eight times. The activist sometimes resorted to violent protests in her campaign for women's rights. She was a member of the Women's Social and Political Union, which was founded in 1903. Its motto was, "Deeds, not words." Ultimately, Davison died a martyr. In an effort to draw attention to her cause during a horse race, she was trampled to death.

Culture

Simone de Beauvoir (1908-1968)

Simone de Beauvoir's 1949 work "The Second Sex" is a milestone of feminist literature. In it, she famously wrote, "One is not born, but rather becomes, a woman." Well ahead of her time, she was among the first to assert the thesis that gender is not a biological fact.

Culture

Betty Friedan (1921-2006)

In her work "The Feminine Mystique," Betty Friedan criticized the reduction of women to mothers and housewives. It was published in 1963 and she became an activist in the American feminist movement. In 1966, she and 27 other women founded the National Organization for Women. She would go on to spend her life fighting for gender equality.

Culture

Judith Butler (*1956)

The deconstruction of gender is the central theme of Judith Butler's work "Gender Trouble" from 1990. Her thesis is that both our learned gender and our biological sex are socially construed and our gender identity is a performance. The American philosopher became a pioneer of feminist theory in the 1990s.

Culture

Mozn Hassan (*1979)

Mozn Hassan and her organization Nazra for Feminist Studies have fought for women's rights in Egypt since 2007. During the Arab Spring, Nazra made sure that sexual harassment became a statutory offense. In 2016, the feminist activist Hassan received the Right Livelihood Award — also known as the Alternative Nobel Prize — for her work.

Culture

Laurie Penny (*1986)

Laurie Penny of Britain is considered one of the most significant feminists of our time. Her works "Meat Market" and "Unspeakable Things" criticize the sexualization and sexual suppression of women and the idea of romantic love. Penny works as a columnist and journalist for "The Guardian," "the Independent," "New Statesman" and others.

Culture

Margarete Stokowski (*1986)

She is also known as the "German Laurie Penny." Margarete Stokowski's debut book "Untenrum frei" ("Free down below") discusses power, mechanisms of sexual suppression, gender roles assigned be society and how small freedoms relate to larger liberties. The "Spiegel" columnist's main thesis is that we can't be free at the top if we're not free down below — and vice versa.

Iceland leads the pack

With 88 percent of its gender gap closed, Iceland topped the list for the ninth year in a row, followed by Norway, Finland, Rwanda and Sweden.

Yemen, Pakistan, Syria, Chad and Iran ranked the lowest out of the 144 nations measured in the WEF index.

Read moreHow Germany is boosting women's careers in culture and the media

"Gender parity is also fundamental to whether and how economies and societies thrive," the report said.

WEF estimated that closing the pay gap could add an extra $310 billion (€265 billion) to Germany's GDP (ranked No. 12 on the list).

The United States (ranked No. 49 on the list) would add $1.75 trillion to its GDP while China (ranked 100) would stand to gain $2.5 trillion.

rs/rt (dpa, Reuters)