17 December 2019

The World Economic Forum has today released new data on global progress towards gender equality - and has found it will take nearly a century for women to be on an equal footing to men. Progress is measured in terms of political influence, economic gain and health and education. It said that while more women were entering government in many places, the economic gap has widened. 

The report also found the UK has a persistent economic gender gap, putting the country at 58th in the rankings, due to big differences between men and women's earned income.

Fawcett Chief Executive Sam Smethers said:

“The fact that the UK has slipped down the international league tables and it will take generations to close the gender pay gap should act as a big wake-up call for government.  We need a strategy for gender equality that addresses intersectional inequality, recognising that women of colour are doubly disadvantaged, tackles the underlying causes of the gap and removes the barriers to women’s economic and political participation.  The gender pay gap is a productivity gap and it holds us all back.

“We want to see equal pay law strengthened to tackle pay discrimination with the introduction of a new Right to Know what your male colleagues are earning; longer, better paid period of leave for fathers that they can afford to take, coupled with all jobs presumed to be flexible working jobs unless there is a good reason for them not to be; stronger laws on sexual harassment in the workplace and a strategy to address harmful gender norms and stereotypes which limit both boys’ and girls’ aspirations and career choices.”

Today, the Fawcett Society is launching Equal Power, a major new campaign with five other women's rights and equality organisation, to achieve equal representation in national and local government for all women. Find out more about getting involved here.