UK drops out of the top 20 most gender equal societies

50p give women the vote

The 2014 World Economic Forum Global Gender Gap report  finds that the UK has dropped out of the top 20 most gender equal societies, falling from 18th to 26th place overall, behind Nicaragua, Rwanda and 14 European countries.

The report finds that the UK ranks:

  • 48th in terms of labour force participation and wage equality
  • 66th for estimated earned income
  • 32nd for educational attainment
  • 94th for health and survival
  • 33rd for political empowerment

 

Commenting on these findings, Dr Eva Neitzert, Deputy CEO at the Fawcett Society said:

“We are not surprised, but nonetheless concerned, that the UK has slipped down the rankings. The gender pay gap widened for the first time in five years last year, and we know that cuts have come disproportionately from women’s pockets, impacting women’s economic position relative to men.

We are concerned that in the emerging recovery, with growth concentrated in low-wage, feminised sectors of the economy and many of the new jobs part-time, temporary and insecure, these trends will worsen.

“The forthcoming election presents an opportunity to turn gender equality around. We hope that the leaders of all political parties pledge to take action to advance gender equality by committing to increasing the National Minimum Wage, ensuring that cuts and welfare changes do not disproportionately impact women, and implementing improved provisions for shared parental leave.

“We hope that any future government post-2015 will learn from these disappointing results and work to improve the UK’s record for gender equality”.

Recent research has found that:

  • Women make up two-thirds of those in low paid work and overall 1 in 4 women are now in low paid work, as opposed to 1 in 7 men [1]
  • 79% of cuts enacted since 2010 have come from women’s pockets [2]
  • The gender pay gap currently stands at 19.1% overall and increases significantly in the course of women’s working lives. For those aged 22-29 it stands at 4%; at age 30-39 it rises to 11.2% and for those aged 40-49 the pay gap hits 24.1%.[3]

 

1] Resolution Foundation, Beyond the Bottom Line: The Challenges and opportunities of a Living Wage, January 2013

2] Reported by Andrew Grice in The Independent, 8 March 2014. Original figures available for download on website of Yvette Cooper, MP: http://www.yvettecooper.com/women_are_being_hardest_hit_this_year_changes_are_worst_of_all

3] Fawcett Society, The Changing Labour Market 2: Women Low Pay and Gender Equality in the Emerging Recovery, August 2014

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