Ireland 'better place' for women than UK

Wed, Oct 24, 2012, 01:00

Ireland has retained its position in fifth place on the 2012 Global Gender Gap Report.

The report, measured by the World Economic Forum, measures the gap between men and women in “four pillars”: economic participation and opportunity (labour force participation, wage equality, income, etc) educational attainment (literacy rate, primary and secondary level enrolment, etc), health and survival (sex ratio, life expectancy, etc), and political empowerment (parliament seats, years of head of state or government).

Each is measured based on the individual country, so those more developed do not have an obvious advantage going in. In addition, gender equality rather than female empowerment is taken into account.

Ireland came in at number five on the list for the second year in a row. The country has been steadily moving up the ranks since 2006 when it was ranked 10th.

Iceland still holds the top spot for the fourth year in a row.

The United States slipped from being 17th among other countries in 2011 to 22nd this year. The US was ranked 31st in 2009.

The United Kingdom also appears to have moved backward instead of forward in recent years. They have seen a steady lowering from position nine to this year’s 18.

Ireland’s ranking above the UK and the US may be due to the presence of some of the promising figures reported in Women and Men in Ireland 2011, published by the Central Statistics Office earlier in the year.

Women are more likely to have a third-level qualification than men and are less likely to leave school early. Their incomes have gone up to 73 per cent of the average man’s. Hourly wages are at 94 per cent.

However, only 36 per cent of medical and dental consultants are female and just 5.1 per cent of representatives in the Oireachtas are female.

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