Cover of the Global Gender Gap Report 2010 Nordic countries Iceland (1), Norway (2), Finland (3) and Sweden (4) continue to demonstrate the greatest equality between men and women according to the World Economic Forum’s Global Gender Gap Report 2010.

The level of gender equality in France (46) has sunk as the number of women in ministerial positions has fallen over the past 12 months. The United States (19) closed its gender gap, rising 12 places to enter the top 20 for the first time in the report’s five-year history. The climb reflects the higher number of women in leading roles in the current administration and improvements in the wage gap.

“Nordic countries continue to lead the way in eliminating gender inequality,” said Klaus Schwab, Founder and Executive Chairman of the World Economic Forum. “Low gender gaps are directly correlated with high economic competitiveness. Women and girls must be treated equally if a country is to grow and prosper. We still need a true gender equality revolution, not only to mobilize a major pool of talent both in terms of volume and quality, but also to create a more compassionate value system within all our institutions.”

Global Gender Gap Rankings 2010

“The 2010 report brings together five years worth of data. We find that out of the 114 countries covered over this time period 86% have narrowed their gender gaps, while 14% are regressing. Whereas countries such as Iceland, Norway and Ireland that are already near the top keep improving every year, it is encouraging that some of the countries in the lower half of the rankings are making the fastest progress relative to their past position – countries such as Angola, Bangladesh and the United Arab Emirates,” said report co-author Saadia Zahidi, Head of the Forum’s Women Leaders and Gender Parity Programme.