South Africa Ranks High For Narrow Gender Gap

South Africa Ranks High For Narrow Gender Gap

South Africa ranked ahead of the U.K , Austria and Canada on the latest Gender Gap Report, which measures how well a country’s resources and opportunities are divided among males and females.

The World Economic Forum’s latest annual Global Gender Gap Index assessed 136 countries representing more than 93 percent of the world’s population, according to a report in AllAfrica.

South Africa ranked 17th out of 136, ahead of the U.K. (18th), Austria (19th) and Canada (20th), and is up compared to its 2008 ranking of 22nd out of 130 countries.

South Africa is also the best-performing BRICS member on the index: the next highest is Russia (61st), followed by Brazil (62nd), China (69th) and India (101st).

In Africa, South Africa is second only to Lesotho (16th), but is the best-performing country on the political empowerment of women, ranking eighth on this sub-index globally.

South Africa ranked 54th overall for educational attainment, 78th for economic participation and opportunity, and 102nd for health and survival.

Other African countries in the top 30 are Burundi (22nd) and Mozambique (26th).

Africa’s relatively good performance this year is largely due to the participation of women in the workforce, the report said. “Through this economic activity, women have greater access to income and economic decision-making, but are often present in low-skilled and low-paid sectors of the economy,” the report said.

Independent research of the kind the report produced “consistently reaffirms our assertion that South Africa is a better place for women today than it was in 1994,” said Nosipho Dorothy Ntwanambi, deputy president of the African National Congress Women’s League.

The government’s commitment to ending discrimination against women was bearing results, Ntwanambi said. “Many more girl children than in 1994 are today gaining access to education, passing matric and obtaining degrees.”

The report found that 86 out of 133 countries improved their global gender gap between 2012 and 2013, with the area of political participation seeing the greatest progress.