South Africa. Latvia. Ecuador. Cuba. Argentina. Namibia. Bolivia. Nicaragua.
These are just some of the 35 nations that rank higher than Australia when it comes to paying women.
The list also includes Norway, Iceland, Sweden, Denmark, the countries we know are star performers when it comes to treating men and women as equal citizens.
Each year the World Economic Forum publishes a gender gap report that looks at four things: education, political empowerment, economic participation and opportunity, and health and survival.
In a nutshell it asks:
Are women as well educated as men?
Do they have the same opportunities and pay at work?
Are their voices equally represented in politics?
Do they enjoy the same access to healthcare as men?
For ten years the WEF has looked at these four criteria in over 100 countries and ranked them accordingly.
The overall gap has closed by 4% in the past decade, with the economic gap closing by just 3%. It’s taken 10 years for women, on average, to earn what men were earning ten years ago.
At this pace of change it will take another 118 years for men and women to be equal. That means 2133 is going to be our year. (I won’t get the ice out to chill any champagne just yet.)
In 2006 Australia came in 15th place and we’ve moved backwards every year since. Between 2014 and 2015 Australia has slipped from position 24 to position 36. It’s a slip we need to talk about.
It is driven by a decrease in how women fare at work: in 2015 shouldn’t a nation like Australia be progressing, not regressing, in the way women engage in the workforce?
Since 2006, Australia has led the world in educating women. We are rockstarsin this realm and are ranked number 1 out of 145 countries because of it. But it makes the fact we rank 54th in the world for women’s workforce participation even more curious.
Given there is no discrepancy in the way men and women are educated, why is it, that when it comes to work, men and women are so far apart?
Australia is also creeping backwards because other countries are doing more to close the gap. If there’s one key take away from the WEF report it’s this: apathy isn’t going to move the dial for women.
None of the countries in the top 10 got there by accident. Each of them got there because, at some point, they made the call to close the gap between men and women.