Israel tops the regional table and Oman climbs three places 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. The Middle East and North Africa is the only region not to have improved its overall standing in 2013.

Israel (53) continues to hold the top spot in the Middle East and North Africa region and gains three places relative to its rank in 2012. This is mainly due to improvement in the percentage of female parliamentarians.

United Arab Emirates (109) continues to hold the top position among Arab countries and is the only country from the region that has fully closed the educational attainment gap. However, the UAE falls two places in the overall ranking this year because of a decrease in the perceived wage equality for similar work and in the estimated earned income indicators. The UAE ranks sixth on the literacy rate indicator and seventh on the enrolment in primary education indicator.

Bahrain (112) loses one position relative to last year due to a decrease in the number of women legislators, senior officials and managers.

Qatar (115) maintains the same overall ranking as last year although there has been a small improvement in the overall score. Qatar ranks the highest of the region on the estimated earned income indicator, but the lowest of the region on the healthy life expectancy indicator.

Kuwait (116) falls seven spots this year because of losses in labour force participation, perceived wage equality for similar work and estimated earned income indicators.

Jordan (119) moves up two places. Jordan’s overall improvement is driven by gains in educational attainment and political empowerment subindices.

Oman (122) ascends three places relative to its 125th position in the 2012 ranking due to gains in the economic empowerment and educational attainment subindices. Oman obtained the best score from the region on the perceived wage equality for similar work indicator.

Lebanon (123) moves down one place this year. It is one of two countries from the region that has fully closed its heath and survival gender gap.

Algeria (124) dropped four places due to losses in the labour force participation and in the enrolment in secondary education indicators.

Egypt (125) gains one place this year although its overall score decreased.

Read the Gender Gap Report 2013 and explore our interactive map below to find out which countries are ahead on gender equality.

 Image: A woman is seen crossing a footbridge REUTERS/Bobby Yip.

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