Pakistan second to last in global gender equality report

Published: October 28, 2014
Pakistan is ranked 132 in terms of education attainment, 119 for health and survival and 85 for political empowerment. GRAPHIC: EXPRESS

Pakistan is ranked 132 in terms of education attainment, 119 for health and survival and 85 for political empowerment. GRAPHIC: EXPRESS

GENEVA: Ranked 141 in the annual Global Gender Gap Report, Pakistan comes second to last in terms of gender equality worldwide.

The report – published by the World Economic Forum (WEF) on Tuesday – quantifies the magnitude of gender-based disparities and tracks their progress over time. It seeks to measure one important aspect of gender equality: the relative gaps between women and men across four key areas — health, education, economy and politics.

According to the report, Pakistan is ranked 141 in terms of economic participation and opportunity for women, 132 in terms of education attainment, 119 for health and survival and 85 for political empowerment.

Since 2006, when the WEF first began issuing its annual Global Gender Gap Reports, women in Pakistan have seen their access to economic participation and opportunity gone down to 141 from 112.

Below is a chart showing Pakistan’s performance in other categories over the years.

Workplace gender gap

WEF said that the worldwide gender gap in the workplace had barely narrowed in the past nine years. While women are rapidly closing the gender gap with men in areas like health and education, inequality at work is not expected to be erased until 2095, the report added.

“Based on this trajectory, with all else remaining equal, it will take 81 years for the world to close this gap completely,” the WEF said in a statement.

The world would be better served to speed up the process, according to WEF founder and chief Klaus Schwab.

“Achieving gender equality is obviously necessary for economic reasons. Only those economies who have full access to all their talent will remain competitive and will prosper,” he said.


The report, which covered 142 countries, looked at how nations distribute access to healthcare, education, political participation and resources and opportunities between women and men.

Almost all the countries had made progress towards closing the gap in access to healthcare, with 35 nations filling it completely, while 25 countries had shut the education access gap, the report showed.

Even more than in the workplace, political participation lagged stubbornly behind, with women still accounting for just 21% of the world’s decision makers, according to the report.

Yet, this was the area where most progress had been made in recent years.

“In the case of politics, globally, there are now 26% more female parliamentarians and 50% more female ministers than nine years ago,” said the report’s lead author Saadia Zahidi.

“These are far-reaching changes,” she said, stressing though that much remained to be done and that the “pace of change must in some areas be accelerated.”

The five Nordic countries, led by Iceland, clearly remained the most gender-equal.

They were joined by Nicaragua, Rwanda, Ireland, the Philippines and Belgium in the top 10, while Yemen remained at the bottom of the chart for the ninth year in a row.

The United States meanwhile climbed three spots from last year to 20th, after narrowing its wage gap and hiking the number of women in parliamentary and ministerial level positions.

France catapulted from 45th to 16th place, also due to a narrowing wage gap but mainly thanks to increasing numbers of women in politics, including near-parity in the number of government ministers.

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Reader Comments (22)

  • Amir
    Oct 28, 2014 - 12:59PM

    This is too much. We ought to be the first in every thing.


  • Dhool
    Oct 28, 2014 - 1:22PM

    Have they ever got any good news about Pakistan and Muslims in particular?


  • Raghu
    Oct 28, 2014 - 1:48PM

    it made me laugh at the statement “inequality at work is not expected to be erased until 2095”. Haha…It will never ever be erased. Coz women have different capabilities in different fields. It is better to have competition among women themselves and men to compete among themselves. Like complete women run organizations and same for men. Inequality will always remain, and the biggest proof is that women and men have separate races in Olympics.


  • Oct 28, 2014 - 2:11PM

    go Nawaz go !!


  • haha
    Oct 28, 2014 - 2:20PM

    I find it funny that this paper which tries to compare everything with India didn’t list India’s position knowing that it’s better.


  • Utkarsh
    Oct 28, 2014 - 2:21PM

    Raghu, tell me more about how your work in an office is like the Olympics.
    Men have 50% more upper body strength and 15% more lower body strength. Sports and direct hand to hand combat are the only places they have an advantage over women. The point is, pay people according to the work they do. Women can do as much work as men in most fields today. Yes, women need maternal leave when they’re pregnant, but many countries give fathers paid leave as well. Not to mention, male employees still can need long medical leaves. And if strength was such an important criterion… tell me how you’d feel if a stronger man than you got more money than you even if he did the same amount of work as you.


  • kumar
    Oct 28, 2014 - 2:24PM

    comedy :D


  • Oct 28, 2014 - 2:40PM

    Such reports/surveys actually do not represent the actual ‘on-ground’ conditions. There are literally thousands of parameters that need to considered and in case of Pakistan, religion, social acceptance and women-will are perhaps the key factors of this so called gender disparity.
    I believe if you’re determined enough and have a crystal clear vision for yourself, nothing will stand in your way. We have a wide range of examples, from Mukhtaraan Mayi to Benazir Bhutto to prove that it’s the personal will and determination that matters the most. Opportunity has always been there. And now with the general uprising through media, I think more and more women are coming up with to face our male-dominant society. Kudos to them.
    Also, I wonder how did the Saudis came above us (Ranked 130) with ZERO political empowerment, ZERO Economic Participation and a miniscule Education Attainment. Something’s fishy with this survey :)


  • Golden Android
    Oct 28, 2014 - 3:13PM


    No, just no. Those countries that have men and women competing in the work place (which, by the way, is not the Olympic Games) are doing much better in every field than those countries where women and men are largely separated. When you look at reports about positive things in the world (human rights, animal and environmental rights, functionality of society, etc.) the Nordic countries are always in the top 10, while every time you look at reports about bad things (like corruption, crime rates, political instability, etc.) the Nordic countries are at the bottom. The Nordic countries are always doing enviably well, and one of the main reasons is their commitment to equality.

    If only men compete against men, then half of the population will not participate in this competition which means important ideas and solutions will be left out of the process. The same goes if women only compete against women. It’s also not just about competition but cooperation. When women and men get to work together, their differences will lead to them coming up with new ideas and innovations which they might not come up with in an environment with only one gender. This cooperation is good for the economy.


  • ani
    Oct 28, 2014 - 3:15PM

    @Nabeel : hit the nail on the head with respect to the Saudis. I was wondering the same. Keep in mind the survey reflects studies done all over Pakistan not urban areas alone. So the tribal belt etc. would have pulled the ranking down! There’d be large variance depending upon the place in each country.


  • Raghu
    Oct 28, 2014 - 4:01PM

    Olympics was an example. I can talk about work in office or business men/women in particular. How many of the top 100 billionaires are women? The fact is very less women which u cannot deny. Can you answer why there are less women? Why do we see very frequent cases of women being maltreated in office? sexually abused? You are right in saying that one should be paid according to the work. but the reality is that on gets paid according to the looks. And to fix this is to create separate organizations for both. Women not only need maternal leave, but they also very much require to nurture their kid atleast for the first 3 years. Or you can leave them at the total blind responsibility of the baby sitter. You should watch some videos of how baby sitters treat kids. The only thing left for you to argue will be why men don’t give birth. The powerful man gets the biggest price coz he wins the race. Same goes out to women.


  • Polpot1
    Oct 28, 2014 - 4:23PM

    @Golden Android:
    I don’t know what report you are referring to but almost all of Europe and America office sexual abuse cases are only increasing day and night. Go look at the figures, you will be shocked.


  • Np
    Oct 28, 2014 - 10:06PM

    Educational attainment of Saudi women is much higher than Pakistan in terms of literacy rate, % of women completing school etc. they also have much lower maternal mortality rate than Pakistan. Of course your are correct about political empowerment of Saudi women being zero.


  • Xyz
    Oct 28, 2014 - 11:01PM

    You ask why there are there not many women among the top richest? Isn’t it obvious …. Positive encouragement and acceptance is instrumental in future success of a child. Till 1900s women were not allowed to attain good education, there were actively discouraged from having an opinion, from being financially independent… Event today women are discouraged from being too ambitious or career oriented or opinionated etc etc. in many societies they are it’s scourged from working, that is even today the case in non urban parts of South Asia.

    Forbes recently published a report that companies with higher participation of women in leadership show better profitability.


  • khurram
    Oct 29, 2014 - 12:18AM

    This gap has to be narrowed down.


  • Raj - USA
    Oct 29, 2014 - 3:42AM

    India is not doing that well as well. Bangladesh is far ahead of India.


  • truthbetold
    Oct 29, 2014 - 7:45AM

    Balngladesh is at 68. Well done BD.


  • Dr safdar
    Oct 30, 2014 - 3:53AM

    May i know the countries included in the survey?
    would be amused to know the position of saudi arabia in the list!


  • dawn of..?
    Oct 30, 2014 - 4:08AM

    When will the people of Pakistan realize that they need a fundamental change in their thinking! No religion, leave alone the most immature religion, is going to help them overcome their backwardness of mind, that does not get neutralized even after playing cricket in England and studying there.


  • Get a life
    Oct 30, 2014 - 10:23AM

    @dawn of..?:
    That is the problem with you people. You forget the history of Muslims. They were the pioneers of Match and Chemistry. Go read some books or google it.

    “The more I study science, the more I believe in God.” –Albert Einstein


  • Dajjal
    Oct 30, 2014 - 10:44AM

    “Pakistan comes second to last in terms of gender equality worldwide.”

    Why do we always finish second to last? be it failed state index, corruption index, worst place to live index… specially since all the political parties are working so hard to make Pakistan last in everything.


  • Oct 31, 2014 - 8:42PM

    This ‘prestigious’ repute of Pakistan can, indeed, be severely damaged by bringing up issues of gross human rights violation, such as disgustingly high number of rapes, that are stripping-off half of this country’s population of their basic rights of an assurance for security, freedom and self-esteem. Discussing actions to curb rapes is dishonorable to them, but restricting woman from choosing to wait until they find a suitable match is a very critical issue, indeed.


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