Philippines is the best place in Asia for Women dreaming power and Gender Equality: WEF

Philippines is Asia's best in closing gender gaps

GENEVA -- (AFP) - Women are closing the gender gap with men in health and education but struggle to get top jobs and salaries, data from a study of 135 countries showed on Wednesday (October 24, 2012).

Top 10 Global Gender Equality Ranking

  1. Iceland (1st)
  2. Finland (2nd)
  3. Norway (3rd)
  4. Sweden (4th)
  5. Ireland (5ft)
  6. New Zealand (6th)
  7. Denmark (7th)
  8. Philippines (8th)
  9. Nicaragua (9th)
  10. Switzerland (10th)

ASEAN Association of Southeast Asian Nations Rankings

  1. the Philippines (8th)
  2. Singapore (55th)
  3. Thailand (65th)
  4. Vietnam (66th)
  5. Brunei Darussalam (75th)
  6. Indonesia (97th)
  7. Malaysia (100th) a
  8. Cambodia (103rd)
  9. Myanmar and Laos are not included in the list.

Top 5 Worst Place for Women with Lowest gender Equality Ranking that Stuck at the bottom of the list are

  1. Yemen (135th)
  2. Pakistan (134th
  3. Chad (133rd)
  4. Syria (132nd)
  5. Saudi Arabia (131st)

"Gaps in senior positions, wages and leadership levels still persist," even in countries that promote equality in education and have a high level of economic integration among women, the World Economic Forum (WEF) said in its annual Global Gender Gap Report.

The new figures were released just hours after a European Union initiative to set a 40-percent quota for women on the boards of listed companies stalled because of a lack of support.

The report, which covered more than 90 percent of the world's population, looked at how nations distribute resources and opportunities between women and men.

It found that the Nordic countries, headed by Iceland, Finland and Norway, had done the best job of closing the gap, while Chad, Pakistan and Yemen had the worst rankings.

While almost all countries had made progress in closing the gap in healthcare and education between women and men, only 60 percent of countries had managed to narrow the economic gender gap and only 20 percent had progressed on a political level, the study said.

Of the top four global economies, the United States, Japan and Germany all made progress in closing their economic gender gap in 2012.

However, they slipped in the overall ranking, which also looks at health, education and politics, with Germany falling two spots to 13th place, the United States sliding five spots to 22nd, and Japan dipping to 101st from 98th last year.

China, which took a step backwards when it came to closing the economic gender gap, also fell in the overall ranking to 69th place from 66th last year.

Greece, which ranked 82nd, registered one of the biggest falls since 2011, when it ranked 56th -- largely owing to a change in the percentage of women holding ministerial positions, from 31 percent in 2011 to only six percent in 2012.

Countries such as Nicaragua (9) and Luxembourg (17) climbed up the ranking thanks to an increase in the percentage of women in parliament.

Reducing the male-female employment gap has been an important driver of European economic growth in the last decade, the report said.

It added that introducing even more equality could boost US gross domestic product by nine percent and eurozone GDP by up to 13 percent.

EU Justice Commissioner Viviane Reding said Tuesday that a move to set a 40-percent quota for women on the boards of listed companies had been delayed amid an ongoing row over the lack of female candidates for a key European Central Bank (ECB) job.

Reding, who was scheduled to present the plan, said on Twitter: "Gender balance directive postponed," owing to insufficient support for the idea within the 27-member European Commission.

The delay came a day after the European Parliament's economic affairs committee rejected the nomination of Luxembourger Yves Mersch to the ECB executive board, because it would result in an all-male board until 2018.

The WEF report said that closing the global gender gap was fundamental to economic growth and stability. It pointed out that no country in the Middle East or North Africa featured in the top 100 of the index: these were regions often troubled by instability and frequently pointed to when gender inequality is discussed.

Elsewhere in Africa, however, five countries ranked in the top 30.

By region, the Philippines (8) remained the highest-ranking country from Asia in the index.

With women making up 50 percent of countries' "human capital", governments needed to find ways to benefit from their talent, insisted Saadia Zahidi, senior director at the World Economic Forum.

"If that capital is not invested in, educated or healthy, countries are going to lose out in terms of their long-term potential," she said.

Only six countries had showed an improvement of 10 percentage points since the report launched seven years ago, Zahidi added, and almost 75 countries have improved by less than five points.

"So the progress is very slow... even though we are seeing a trend in a positive direction," she said.

Philippines leads Asian countries in Global Gender Gap Report

The Philippines remained as the top Asian country in ensuring that men and women have equal access to rights and privileges, including economic opportunities, a report released Wednesday by the World Economic Forum showed.

The country remained at the 8th spot of the World Economic Forum's Global Gender Gap Index 2012, which ranks countries based on their ability to close the gender gap in healthcare, education, political participation and economic equality.

"The Philippines remains the highest-ranking country from Asia in the Index. It ranks 1st on both education and health and is also among the top 20 on economic participation and political empowerment. The Philippines is the only country in Asia this year to have closed the gender gap in both education and health," the report said.

It added that the country also performs in the top 10 of indicators that include legislators, senior officials and managers, literacy rate, enrolment in secondary education and years with female head of state.

The Philippines has already elected two women presidents which include Corazon Aquino and Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo. In August, President Benigno S. Aquino III appointed Maria Lourdes Sereno chief justice of the Supreme Court, the first female to hold the position.

Ranked ahead of the Philippines are Iceland (1st), Finland (2nd), Norway (3rd), Sweden (4th), Ireland(5), New Zealand (6th) and Denmark (7th), while Nicaragua (9th) and Switzerland (10th) rounded out the top 10.

Among the Association of Southeast Asian Nations, the Philippines is followed by Singapore (55th), Thailand (65th), Vietnam (66th), Brunei Darussalam (75th), Indonesia (97th), Malaysia (100th) and Cambodia (103rd). Myanmar and Laos are not included in the list.

Among economic powerhouses, the United States is ranked 22nd, China is 69th and Japan is 101st.

Stuck at the bottom of the list are Saudi Arabia (131st), Syria (132nd), Chad (133rd), Pakistan (134th) and Yemen (135th).

The report said there is a strong correlation between countries at the top of the index and the countries that are most economically competitive.

"The key for the future of any country and any institution is the capability to attract the best talents," said Klaus Schwab, WEF founder and executive chairman.

"In the future, talent will be more important than capital or anything else. To develop the gender dimension is not just a question of equality; it is the entry card to succeed and prosper in an ever more competitive world," he added.

Manila Bulletin, philSTAR

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