Pakistan close to bottom on global gender gap list

ISLAMABAD: The World Economic Forum (WEF) on Wednesday released the Global Gender Gap Report 2008 through its partner institute in Pakistan, the Competitiveness Support Fund (CSF).

According to the annual report, the social and economic empowerment of women is still very low in Pakistan and they are struggling for their livelihood and survival. Pakistan ranked 127th among 130 countries in this year’s Global Gender Gap ranking.

The report provides a comprehensive framework for assessing and comparing gender gaps in 92 percent of the world’s population this year. There are three basic underlying concepts of the report; it ranks countries according to gender equality rather than women empowerment; focuses on measuring gaps rather than levels and measures those gaps in outcome variables rather than input variables.

There are 14 gender gap indices, which focus on the economic participation and opportunities available to women, their educational attainment, health, survival and political empowerment.

Political empowerment: Pakistan ranked poorly in almost all categories in the report. It, however, fared better in empowering women politically, ranked 50th among 130 countries.

Norway: Norway leads the world in closing the gender gap, followed by Finland, Sweden and Iceland. Germany (11), the United Kingdom (13) and Spain (17) slipped down the ranking, but remained in the top 20. Netherlands (9), Latvia (10), Sri Lanka (12) and France (15) made significant gains.

Pakistan ranked 117th in both women’s literacy rate and workforce population, 115th in healthy life expectancy, 110th in enrolment in primary education, 60th in wage equality for similar work and fifth in years of a female head of state.

The CSF is a joint initiative of the United States Agency for International Trade and Development (USAID) and Pakistan’s Finance Ministry. It has been established to reposition Pakistan’s economy on a more globally competitive footing.

USAID’s support for the CSF is part of the $2.8 billion aid that the US government has provided to Pakistan since 2002 to improve the latter’s economic growth, education, health, governance and to reconstruct the areas affected by the October 2005 earthquake.

Staff report

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