In its recently released Global Gender Index Study, the World Economic Forum ranked Nordic countries -Iceland, Norway, Finland, and Sweden – the highest for gender equality. The index evaluates the countries based on such factors as women’s access to education, the presence of women in politics, equal employment opportunities and salaries, and health, reported Bloomberg.
Of the 134 countries studied, 59 percent narrowed the equality gap between men and women, according to Bloomberg. The US’s rank has improved considerably over the past year, mostly due to the greater presence of women in the Obama administration and the reduction of wage differences, the New York Times reports.
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 New York Times. 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.