Ireland ranked in eighth place in gender gap rankings

New survey says it will take 81 years to stamp out workplace inequality between men and women

Ireland has slipped two places in an international gender gap survey table from the World Economic Forum.

The organisation’s annual survey shows Ireland in eighth place, compared to sixth place in 2013 and fifth in 2012.

The survey measures equality gaps in countries rather than overall levels and measures the relative gaps between women and men in health, education, the economy and politics in 142 countries.

Four Nordic countries and Iceland comprise the top five with the Nicaragua and Rwanda also ranked ahead of Ireland.


According to the latest survey, the world has seen only a small improvement in equality for women in the workplace over the past nine years. Women’s attainments and opportunities in the workplace now stand at 60 per cent compared to men. This is up from 56 per cent in the first report issued in 2006. Based on this trajectory, with all else remaining equal, it will take 81 years for the world to close this gap completely.

The ninth edition of the report finds that, among the 142 countries measured, the gender gap is narrowest in terms of health and survival. This gap stands at 96 per cent globally, with 35 countries having closed the gap entirely

Countries from Europe and Central Asia occupy 12 of the top 20 positions in the index. Of the region’s major economies, Germany climbed two places to 12th, France jumped from 45th to 16th, while the UK fell eight places to 26th.

The United States climbs three places to 20 in 2014, after narrowing its wage gap and improving the number of women in parliamentary and ministerial level positions.

In Asia and the Pacific, the Philippines remains the region’s highest-ranked country, followed by New Zealand and Australia. In the Middle East and North Africa, Kuwait, at 113th, is the highest-placed country in the region

"Much of the progress on gender equality over the last 10 years has come from more women entering politics and the workforce. While more women and more men have joined the workforce over the last decade, more women than men entered the labour force in 49 countries. And in the case of politics, globally, there are now 26 per cent more female parliamentarians and 50 per cent more female ministers than nine years ago," said Saadia Zahidi, head of the Gender Parity Programme at the World Economic Forum and lead author of the report.

“These are far-reaching changes - for economies and national cultures, however it is clear that much work still remains to be done, and that the pace of change must in some areas be accelerated,” she added.

Top ten countries for closing the gender gap

1. Iceland

2. Finland

3. Norway

4. Sweden

5. Denmark

6. Nicaragua

7. Rwanda

8. Ireland

9. The Philippines

10. Belgium

Charlie Taylor

Charlie Taylor

Charlie Taylor is a former Irish Times business journalist