KUALA LUMPUR, 13 July – The World Economic Forum (WEF) published its Global Gender Gap Index report for 2022, and Malaysia had one of the lowest rankings in the region at 103 globally.
Behind Singapore (49), Thailand (79) and Indonesia (92), Malaysia improved its ranking from 113 out of 156 countries in 2021.
According to WEF, the big hit from COVID-19 did not allow the gender gap to bounce back, and with the global economy entering the third year of major disruption, it will take another 132 years (compared to 136 last year) to close the gender gap.
Out of 146 countries surveyed this year, only one in five managed to close the gender gap by a minimum of 1 per cent during the past year.
As a result of that, it reduced the time required to reach gender parity by only four years, despite the gains that had been made.
The WEF said this progress does little to offset the setback of an entire generation recorded in 2020-2021 at the start of the pandemic.
WEF managing director Saadia Zahidi said the cost of living crisis is impacting women disproportionately after the shock of labour market losses during the pandemic and the continued inadequacy of care infrastructure.
“In the face of a weak recovery, government and business must make two sets of efforts — targeted policies to support women’s return to the workforce and women’s talent development in the industries of the future.
“Otherwise, we risk eroding the gains of the last decades permanently and losing out on the future economic returns of diversity,” she added.
The Global Gender Gap Report benchmarks the evolution of gender-based gaps in four areas — economic participation and opportunities, educational attainment, health and survival, and political empowerment.
It also explores the impact of recent global shocks on the growing gender gap crisis in the labour market.
Across the 146 countries covered in 2022, the health and survival gender gap has closed by 95.8 per cent, educational attainment by 94.4 per cent economic participation and opportunities by 60.3%, and political empowerment by 22 per cent.
Between 2021 and 2022, the economic participation and opportunity sub-index increased by 1.6 per cent, based mainly on gains for women in professional and technical roles, and a decrease in the wage gap, even as gender gaps in the labour force increased.
For the health and survival subindex, there was a small improvement from 95.7 per cent to 95.8 per cent, while the educational attainment sub-index fell from 95.2 per cent to 94.4 per cent, and political empowerment stalled at 22 per cent.
Source: ASWAQ/The Edge Markets