Iceland leads four Nordic countries at the top of the table, while the Philippines joins the top five for the first time 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.

  1. Iceland holds the top spot for the fifth consecutive year, continuing to boast the narrowest gender gap in the world. Iceland’s overall score moves up due to improvements in economic participation and opportunity, as well as political empowerment.
  2. Finland continues to hold the second position despite slight losses in its overall score due to a decrease in economic opportunity and participation.
  3. Norway follows next, with a light increase in its overall score. Norway has just appointed a female prime minister, Erna Solberg, and is also one of the top 10 countries for the number of years during which it has had a female head of state.
  4. Sweden continues to hold the fourth position. Although no country has yet achieved gender equality, all of the Nordic countries, with the exception of Denmark, have closed over 80% of the gender gap. On the whole, these economies have made it possible for parents to combine work and family, resulting in more women in the workforce, shared childcare and a better work-life balance for both women and men.
  5. The Philippines moves up three places this year due to small improvements in economic participation and opportunity. The highest-ranking country from Asia, Philippines is 10th overall for political empowerment and is the only country in Asia and the Pacific to have fully closed the gender gap in both education and health.
  6. Ireland slipped one place this year due to losses in economic participation and opportunity, though it remains the highest European country outside the group of Nordic economies.
  7. New Zealand moved down one place, mainly due to a decrease in wages women are paid for doing similar work to men.
  8. Denmark lost one place in the overall ranking this year despite an improvement in political empowerment.
  9. Switzerland moved up one spot due to increases in women’s salaries.
  10. Nicaragua continues to be the only country from Latin America and the Caribbean in the top 10 overall best performers.

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

 

Author: Saadia Zahidi is Senior Director, Head of Gender Parity and Human Capital at the World Economic Forum.

Image: A woman is seen walking in Tokyo’s financial district REUTERS/Yuriko Nakao.