For the ninth-year in a row, Iceland ranks as the world‘s most gender-equal country, according to the World Economic Forum‘s Global Gender Gap index.
Behind Iceland are Norway, Finland and Rwanda, with the United States dropping four places, ranking at 49.
These findings show that, overall, 68% of the global gender gap has been closed, which appears to be a slight deterioration on the past couple of years, when the gap was as high as 68.1%.
Behind the decline is mainly a widening of the gender gap across Economic Opportunity and Political Empowerment. According to WEF, these areas are of concern due to them already carrying the largest gaps and, until this year, had been registering the fastest process.
The current rate indicates that the global gender gap will take 100 years to close, compared to 83 last year. The more positive news is that over one-half of all 144 countries measured have seen their score improve in the past 12 months.
87% of the Icelandic gender gap has been closed, having been reduced by 10% since 2006. This makes Iceland among the fastest nations to reach gender equality. Iceland‘s progress prompted WEF to ask the Icelandic Ministry of Welfare to prepare a report on this matter. According to their findings, gender equality does not come about of its own accord, requiring “the collective action and solidarity of women human rights defenders, political will, and tools such as legislation, gender budgeting and quotas.” The rest of the report can be read here.