The Covid-19 pandemic delayed progress towards gender equality by a generation

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The health crisis has delayed the time needed to achieve gender equality by more than a generation, according to the annual study released Wednesday by the World Economic Forum (WEF, an organization known as the Davos Economic Forum).

While this report shows strong disparities from one country to another, it will still take 135.6 years to achieve parity on a global scale. It will now take 36 more years to close the gaps both economically and politically, in health and education, underlines this annual study on gender inequalities in the world, the fifteenth edition of which is now.

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“The pandemic has had a fundamental impact on gender equality, both in the workplace and at home, setting back years of progress”, highlighted Saadia Zahidi, member of the Executive Committee of the Economic Forum Global, cited in the press release accompanying the study.

More job losses for women

The repercussions of the health crisis were more severe for women who were more likely to lose their jobs, in part due to their over-representation in consumption-related sectors which were most directly affected by the measures of confinement.

According to figures from the International Labor Organization (ILO), women’s job loss reached 5% in 2020, compared to 3.9% for men, the study cited in support.

The health crisis has also increased the double burden of women between work and household responsibilities, with household chores, childcare and elderly care “falling disproportionately” on them.

Read more: Switzerland is the country where women are least likely to be promoted

The rate of hiring for women is also slower now that the job market is recovering, their chances of being recruited for senior positions are lower, according to this study, which finds a decline of one to two years per year. report on progress made so far.

An under-representation of women in politics

The gap has however widened especially at the political level, according to this index carried out every year since 2006. While it shows an improvement in more than half of the 156 countries reviewed, women however occupy only 26, 1% of parliamentary seats and 22.6% of ministerial posts worldwide.

Continuing its current trajectory, the gender gap in politics is expected to take 145.5 years to close, compared to 95 years in the previous edition of the report, dating from the end of 2019.

Iceland retains top spot

The publication of this fifteenth edition was delayed by the health crisis, the authors of the study noting that the data collected for 2021 does not yet fully reflect the impact of the pandemic on women.

For the twelfth year in a row, Iceland remained at the top of the rankings, remaining the most equal country in the world, followed by Finland, Norway, New Zealand and Sweden. Switzerland comes in tenth position.