UK drops from 9 to 11 in world gender rankings

The UK has dropped two places in the World Economic Forum’s annual rankings on gender equality – although our overall ‘score’ has increased a little bit.

Last year, the UK was in ninth place – this year we’re in 11th place, largely because of improvements in political and economic participation of women in Ireland and Spain. Which, of course, is great news for women in those countries and hopefully means there is a clustering and improvement in real conditions ongoing towards the top of the rankings.

There’s still some good news for women in the UK, though:

While the United Kingdom has fallen in the relative rankings, it shows an increase in its overall score, driven by improvements in the ratio of women to men among technical workers, in the ratio of women’s estimated earned income over men’s estimated earned income and in the ratio of women’s labour force participation ratio versus that of men. Women’s estimated earned income rose from US$ 20,790 to US$ 24,448 while men’s estimated earned income rose from US$ 33,713 to US$ 37,506, increasing the United Kingdom’s rank on this variable from 31 in 2006 to 22 in 2007.

In the top rankings, there are few surprises, with Sweden and Norway retaining top place:

France made a dramatic leap from 70th place in 2006 to 51 in 2007, although it is still well behind many other European countries.

However, the US dropped six places from 25th place last year to 31st place this year – with a widening of the pay gap and a drop in female legislators, managers and senior officials. The country comes in behind Estonia, Namibia, Costa Rica, Belarus, Colombia, South Africa and Cuba.

Meanwhile, the performance of those at the bottom of the league table is as depressing as ever – Yemen comes in last this year, with a score of 0.4510 – where 0 is total inequality and 1 is total equality. The best performer, Sweden, scored 0.8146 on this scale – showing there is still work to be done even for those women in the best circumstances in the world.