US falls significantly in global ranking for gender equality: Report

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(NEW YORK) — The U.S. ranking for gender equality worldwide fell significantly over the past year due to a widening gap in political empowerment and health outcomes between men and women, according to a study released on Tuesday by the World Economic Forum.

The report, which assesses equity between men and women on indexes ranging from economic participation to physical well-being, ranked the U.S. 43rd out of 146 countries studied, ranking directly beneath Colombia and above Luxembourg. Last year, the U.S. ranked 27th.

The World Economic Forum convenes an annual meeting of the global elite in Davos, Switzerland, every January.

The falloff in the U.S. ranking from last year is largely due to a widening gap between men and women in the realm of political empowerment, which measures factors such as the share of women who hold positions in the federal legislature and as heads of state, the study found.

The U.S. also faces a growing gender divide over life expectancy, the study showed. Over the last decade, women’s healthy life expectancy has declined by five years and men’s by close to three years, according to the study.

To be sure, the report found that the U.S. gender gap has narrowed in some areas, especially those focused on economic outcomes.

The U.S. has closed almost 80% of the gap between men and women on an index that measures economic opportunity and participation, recovering to a level last seen in 2018, the report said.

On income parity, the U.S. has closed about 67% of the gap between men and women, which continues a trend of gradual improvement over the past several years, the study showed.

Not a single country has completely reached parity between men and women on the study’s overall gender gap index.

Iceland, the report’s top-ranked country for 14 consecutive years, has closed roughly 91% of the divide between men and women on the overall gender gap index.

The group of top-performing countries also featured Norway, Finland, Sweden and New Zealand.

The lowest-ranked countries were Afghanistan, Chad, Algeria, Pakistan and Iran.

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