This year, the Global Gender Gap Report assessed 146 countries across the four main indicators of economic participation and opportunity, educational attainment, health and survival, and political empowerment.
Of these, Finland was the first in the world in educational attainment, topping the list in the subindices of literacy and enrolment in primary, secondary and tertiary education. The country also placed second in political empowerment and leads the world in the presence of women in ministerial positions.
“Finland was the first country in the world to grant women full political rights, both the right to vote and the right to run for office,” said Prime Minister Sanna Marin in a speech to the United Nations in 2020.
“Finland promotes gender equality because we see it as a cornerstone of our success as a society.”
The country still has much ground to make up in economic participation and opportunity, however, coming in at 18th place in this year’s index.
Overall, Iceland received a gender parity score of 90.8 per cent to take the top place, with Norway (84.5 per cent, third), New Zealand (84.1 per cent, fourth) and Sweden (82.2 per cent, fifth) rounding out the top five.
There is scant need to celebrate on a global scale, however, as the current rate of progress suggests it will still take 132 years to reach full gender parity.
Long-standing structural barriers, socioeconomic and technological transformation, along with economic shocks all contribute to gender gaps in the workforce. The pandemic has also had a disproportionate impact on women, who collectively lost more jobs than their male counterparts.