On Tuesday, the World Economic Forum released its annual Global Gender Gap Index. This Index is a comprehensive ranking of gender gaps in 134 countries across the world.
While some countries are closing the gender gap, the United States ranking fell from No. 27 to No. 31 on the list. This latest drop was unfortunately not something new, as the United States was No. 23 in 2006.
Countries were measured by looking at women's health, education, economic participation and political empowerment. Historically, the Index has shown that the United States performs well on measures of education and economic participation, but has mediocre scores in women’s health and political achievement.
The 2009 report found that 67 percent of countries are improving their gender equality, while 33 percent are getting worse. The United States is not the only developed nation to slip down the list, the United Kingdom is currently at No. 15 (down two spots) and Germany is at No. 12 (down one spot). Globally, the economic participation gap totals 40 percent, while a startling 83 percent gap in political empowerment remains.
This study shows just how much work needs to be done nationally and globally to ensure that women are given equal opportunities. In the United States, we can work together to ensure health care reform includes provisions that allow women equal access to insurance, that women are hired for their share of green jobs that are being funded by the stimulus, and that the Healthy Families Act passes Congress to allow women some flexibility so they can keep their jobs.