The UK has slipped out of the top 20 countries for gender equality and the gap between men and women in the workplace has widened, according to a report that places Britain behind the Scandinavian countries and the Philippines.
Research by the World Economic Forum (WEF) – the body behind the high-powered annual Davos summit – found the UK has slipped from 18th to 26th in the rankings of its Global Gender Gap Report, part of a steady decline from the forum’s inaugural league table in 2006, when the UK was ranked ninth. The UK also recorded its lowest overall score since 2008.
As in 2012 and 2013, the list was dominated by northern Europe and the top four countries remained unchanged, with Iceland first, Finland second, Norway third and Sweden fourth. However, the index, which measures equality gaps in countries rather than overall levels, also rated a number of middle-income and developing countries above the UK, including Nicaragua (sixth), Rwanda (seventh) and the Philippines (ninth).
While the UK failed to make the top 20 in any of the report’s four categories – economy, education, health and politics – the drop in its overall rating this year was chiefly attributable to a significantly lower score in “economic participation”, which measures attributes such as the ratios of women in the workforce, wage equality for similar work done by men, and the number of women in senior roles.