Lesotho holds fast at the top, while more women in the workforce pushed Burundi up the ranking in the World Economic Forum’s Global Gender Gap 2013 report, published today.

The report ranks 136 countries on their ability to close the gender gap – making sure women are not held back – in four key areas: health and survival, education, politics and economic equality.

Lesotho (16 out of 136) holds its place for the fourth consecutive year, despite having lost two places this year because of a decrease in women in the workforce and a small drop in wage equality for similar work. Lesotho is the only country from the region that has closed the gender gap in both educational attainment, and health and survival. Lesotho is the third best performer of the lower-middle income countries.

South Africa (17) slips one place mainly due to a light decrease in women’s economic participation and opportunity. South Africa is the second best of all upper-middle income countries. It continues to be the best performer from the region for political empowerment, holding the fifth position for the number of women in parliament indicator and the 11th for women in ministerial positions.

Burundi (22) follows next in the ranking, moving up two spots. Burundi ranks third for labour force participation and is the best performer from the region for economic participation and opportunity. The country also shows the highest overall score of all low-income countries.

Mozambique (26) falls three spots this year from losses in wage equality for similar work. Mozambique is the top performer from the region for income and the highest number of years with a female head of state.

Malawi (39) is the overall top country for labour force participation and the best performer in the region for enrolment in primary education.

Cape Verde (41) slips down six places from last year, due to a decrease in economic participation and opportunity. Cape Verde has the highest number of women in ministerial positions in Africa, coming just after Finland and Iceland overall in this area. It is also one of six African countries to have closed the health and survival gender gap.

Namibia (44) loses ground this year on wage equality. However, Namibia is one of three countries in the region to have closed its educational attainment gap.

Uganda (46) follows next. Uganda is one of the six countries from the region that have closed their health and survival gender gaps, though it falls 18 places due to a weaker performance in education.

Madagascar (56) gains two places due to small improvements in economic participation and education.

Tanzania (66) shows the biggest loss compared to last year, moving down 20 places. This is mainly due to a decrease in the literacy score and enrolment in tertiary education score, but also due to the fact that there are no data for enrolment in secondary education as it is no longer part of the UNESCO database.

Senegal (67) trails just behind Tanzania, completing Africa’s top ten list.

Explore our interactive map below, and find out which countries are ahead on gender equality.

Image: A woman with a baby on her back looks on at an informal settlement in the capital Luanda, August 30, 2012. REUTERS/Siphiwe Sibek