Japan drops to 114th in gender equality rankings by World Economic Forum

The report ranks 144 countries to compare women's economic opportunities, education, political participation and health with men. It's the second year that the organization has recorded worsening economic inequality.

Japan was placed at 114th in the World Economic Forum's global gender equality rankings for 2017 released Thursday, down from 111th a year ago and the worst standing among the Group of Seven major economies.

"A decade of slow but steady progress on improving parity between the sexes came to a halt in 2017, with the global gender gap widening for the first time since the World Economic Forum's Global Gender Gap Report was first published in 2006", the report said.

Women also generally tend to work in lower-paid professions and are less likely to be in highly-paid senior roles in companies.

However, gender equality does appear to promote better economic performance, according to numerous studies.

Women will have to wait more than two centuries ― 217 years ― to have the same job and wage opportunities as men around the world, new data suggests. It's the only African country that ranks in the top 10 (there are no North American countries in the top 10).

But it continues to lag behind in economic participation and opportunities for women in particular. China, it says, could see a $2.5 trillion GDP increase, and "the world as a whole could increase global GDP by $5.3 trillion by 2025 if it closed the gender gap in economic participation by 25% over the same period".

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This is slightly down from the 68.3% measured previous year. The march toward gender equality in education could reach the finish line within a mere 13 years, it said. Women across the world are still, on average, earning less than men by a large amount.

The survey also found that women spent longer days at the workplace, putting in 525 "work minutes per day" on average compared with 481 for men.

And the situation varies greatly from country to country and region to region. The country, WEF said, has closed 88 per cent of the gender gap.

They were joined by Nicaragua, Slovenia, Ireland, New Zealand and the Philippines in the top 10, with Syria, Pakistan and finally Yemen at the bottom of the rankings.

Both Canada and France saw improvements to their political empowerment measures after Justin Trudeau and Emmanuel Macron added more women in ministerial positions within their governments.

The UK climbed five places, taking 15th spot this year.

Gender parity is closest in areas of health and education, it says, but significant gaps in economic participation and political empowerment continue to endure across the world.

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