The United States falls behind in the Global Effort to Close the Gender Gap

The World Economic Forum’s 2012 Global Gender Gap Report has been released and once more, the U.S. is noticeably absent from the top spots of its ranking. The report considers four factors in determining which countries are the best for women:

  1. Economic Participation and Opportunity takes into account female labor force participation, wage equality and the number of women in high-level jobs.
  2. Educational Attainment measures the literacy rate of women as well as the gap between men and women in higher education.
  3. Health and Survival looks at female and male life expectancy and mortality rates.
  4. Political Empowerment studies the number of women holding high legislative offices and the number of female heads of state over the last 50 years.

Each country is provided with a score from 0 (complete female in equality) to 1 (complete equality). In spite of the recent surge in political attention directed towards women, the U.S. slipped in the rankings from 17th to 22nd with a score of .7373, its lowest since 2009. Specifically, out of 135 countries, the United States ranks at No. 55 in political empowerment, No. 33 in health and survival rates, No. 8 in economic participation and opportunity, and No. 1 in educational attainment for women.

The figures released in this report shed light on the slow moving process of establishing gender equality in the United States. While not the worst in the world, the US has lagged behind not only its western counterparts, but less economically or politically developed countries as well. It is abundantly clear that much more time needs to be devoted to ensuring political, economic, and social welfare for women in the U.S.

In which area do you feel the U.S. needs the most improvement? Do you think this ranking is accurate? Comment!

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