Gender (in)equality

There is a new World Economic Forum report on gender imbalances. Yes, this looks like another of these regular reports to tell us what we’ve observed in our day-to-day anyhow.  These reports will continue to make regular appearances as long as the gender gap persists. Unfortunately, I don’t expect a shortages of them for quite some time yet.

There is some interesting content from the WEF report but it requires careful reading to see the full picture.  The results are presented as relative rankings.  So, we might be close to gender equality on a category but yet achieve a low ranking because other countries are even closer.

  • Actually, we in Ireland are not doing too badly at all. We lie in 6th position (out of 130+ countries) for gender equality, behind Iceland, Finland, Norway, Sweden and New Zealand. Nonetheless, it is all relative. The differential statistic is 77.7% suggesting there is still a 22;3% gap.
  • It’s likely that the Marys are pushing up our rankings.  Having a current female President and a recent female President of the country helps. The (albeit few) high-ranking female TDs also helps, .  Indeed, the ranking scores for political empowerment tally with the overall scores. We lie in 7th position with many of the same countries ahead of us. Yet, we fall woefully short of equality with 14 female to 86 male members of parliament.
  • In terms of educational achievement, we are doing so well here in Ireland that we have a (equal with several other countries) top ranking. The analyses that fill the newspapers when the junior and leaving cert results come out tally with this. However, we are only ranked 25th when it comes to economic participation, and we have a scary 89 ranking on health.   Having said that it’s worth noting that the health category is measured on female/male birth ratios and on mortality age. Neither are problematic in Ireland.
  • The only place where women seem to outdo men in the various categories and sub-categories is enrollment in tertiary education. Yet, I can’t help but wonder what this means when all these wonderful females complete their education. They / we don’t seem to be making to the higher echelons. Women dominate the lower levels of government and business while men dominate the upper levels. How come?  What skills are men bringing to the table that enables them to climb that ladder and seemingly seep through glass ceilings by osmosis while women have to take hammers to it and only make a dent?  Is there something missing in education and training that facilitates this? Or is it simply down to practicalities like childcare (after all, guys simply cannot to the 9 months thing and all that goes with it) or is it more subtle in terms of social pressures?
  • The pay gap is arguably the gap that has closed most in recent years with women catching up with their male counterparts in terms of being paid for an equal days work. Yet, the very thought that any 2 people are paid differently for equal work is bizarre.  It’s a safe guess that this a problem within genders as well as between genders.  How many men out there work as hard and as well as the person in the next desk/office to them and yet get paid less?

The stats here go from 2006 to 2010 inc.I can’t help but wonder what the next set will throw up. Will we ever close that gap completely?





Posted on October 18, 2010, in Uncategorized and tagged , , , . Bookmark the permalink. Leave a comment.

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