Advertisement

Japan, South Korea gender gap among world's worst, WEF index shows

By
Elizabeth Shim
Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe has promoted gender equality but his country is one of the world's most gender-unequal countries, according to the World Economic Forum in Switzerland. File Photo by Gian Ehrenzeller/EPA-EFE
Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe has promoted gender equality but his country is one of the world's most gender-unequal countries, according to the World Economic Forum in Switzerland. File Photo by Gian Ehrenzeller/EPA-EFE

Dec. 17 (UPI) -- China, Japan and South Korea are some of the most gender-unequal countries in the world, ranking only slightly higher than Pakistan, Iraq and Yemen.

The World Economic Forum in Switzerland said in its report on gender equality on Tuesday the global gender gap will take nearly 100 years to close, and pay equality will not be realized for another 257 years.

Advertisement

Japan and South Korea, both members of the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development, the "club of rich nations," are also some of the most unequal countries in the world, ranking 121 and 108, respectively, in the Global Gender Gap Report 2020.

Japan dropped 11 places from 2018, owing to the low representation of women in politics and corporate management, NHK reported Tuesday.

RELATED Finland ready to elect world's youngest prime minister

Women lawmakers represent only 10 percent of the lower house of Japanese parliament, and women in Japan's cabinet comprise about 5 percent of the staff, according to the report.

South Korea faces similar problems. Seoul has previously complained about WEF's gender gap index, which began to measure disparities in 2006.

In 2016, South Korea's ministry of gender equality and family said the index shows a limited assessment of inequality because it "only" measures disparity in the areas of politics, economics, education and health, local newspaper Herald Business reported.

Advertisement
RELATED Conservative protesters in South Korea attack lawmakers

According to the WEF, the top 10 countries for gender equality are Iceland, Norway, Finland, Sweden, Nicaragua, New Zealand, Ireland, Spain, Rwanda and Germany.

In the East Asia and Pacific region, New Zealand, the Philippines and Laos were ranked the best-performing countries.

The United States ranked No. 53, well below neighboring Canada, which came in 19th.

RELATED Ordinary Chinese citizens seem to welcome social credit system

"Both countries' performances are stalling, especially in terms of economic participation and opportunity. At this rate it will take 151 years to close the gap," the WEF said.

The report also said women are most likely to be displaced by automation and are underrepresented in the fastest-growing job sectors, including cloud computing and artificial intelligence.

Latest Headlines