Wages for Women Lag Years Behind Men

01 February, 2016

Women in northern European nations are closest to equality with men on wages, education, health and education.

That is the finding of a report by the World Economic Forum.

The United States ranked 28th. On Friday, President Barack Obama announced the government will require large businesses to report how much they pay men and women. The data will be used to target companies that pay women less to do the same jobs.

A World Economic Forum map shows pay inequity between women and men around the world.
A World Economic Forum map shows pay inequity between women and men around the world.

According to the World Economic Forum report, women worldwide continue to lag behind men on wages. Based on current trends, they will need 126 years to catch up, according to the report.

Women are making progress. But they still only earn what men did 10 years ago, say the report's authors.

The report measures the gender gap for women in 145 nations for health, education, economic opportunity, and political power. Women have not achieved equality in any of the 145 nations included in the survey, says the report.

Women came closest to equality in four Northern European nations – Iceland, Norway, Finland and Sweden. Ireland ranks No. 5.

At the bottom of the women's gender ratings are Yemen, Pakistan, Syria, Chad, Iran and Jordan.

More women than men are attending colleges in 97 nations. But women make up a majority of skilled workers in only 68 nations. Women control the majority of government and political positions in only four.

At last week's World Economic Forum in Davos, Switzerland, Sheryl Sandberg, chief operating officer at Facebook, spoke about gender equality.

"The reason to work towards equality – whether woman or man – is that it is better for you," Sandberg said. "We should be doing this not because it's the right thing, but because it's the smart thing. ... So do it because it will help you."

The World Economic Forum completed its worldwide 2015 gender gap survey in November.

I'm Anne Ball.

Bruce Alpert reported on this story for VOA Learning English. ­Kathleen Struck was the editor.

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Words in This Story

equity n. fairness in how people are treated

opportunityn. an amount of time or a situation in which something can be done

gendern. male or female