Iceland has been placed first in the Global Gender Gap Report not once, but nine times. The report, which is published annually by the World Economic Forum, measures the gender gap in the areas of economic participation and opportunity, educational attainment, health and survival, and political empowerment.
According to last year‘s report, Iceland is the only country to have closed more than 70% of its gender gap in the area of political empowerment. To call that a record-breaking achievement seems rather depressing. So don‘t start celebrating Iceland as the ultimate feminist paradise quite yet—plenty of progress is still needed. Iceland only ranks 14th of 144 countries in the “economic participation and opportunity” category , and even places as low as 57th for “educational attainment.” The “health and survival” category offers an even worse picture of Icelandic society, as Iceland ranks 114th.
At least some progress
Nevertheless, Iceland is the only country to have closed the overall gender gap by 87% in total since records began, 10% of which was achieved between 2006-2017, or the period that the Global Gender Gap Report has been published. Just this year, the Icelandic government introduced a new law requiring employers to prove they‘re paying women and men equally, as many were flouting the previous guidelines. Also, don‘t forget that Katrín Jakobsdóttir was elected as the 28th prime minister of Iceland last year.
Equality, but not quite
In conclusion, Iceland is the “least worst” country concerning gender equality, rather than the best. There’s a lot of room for improvement before Iceland achieves true gender equality. Or, as the report concludes: “More than a decade of data has revealed that progress is still too slow for realising the full potential of one half of humanity within our lifetimes.”
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