Britain ranked lower than Rwanda for gender equality

The UK is now languishing below countries like Rwanda and the Philippines for gender equality.

According to the World Economic Forum’s (WEF) index of nations based on the gender gap in key areas including the economy, politics, education and health, the UK is in 20th place, while Rwanda is placed fifth.

The WEF, a not-for-profit body based in Switzerland, analysed data from 144 countries worldwide and said the global gender gap had widened to its largest since 2008.

It claimed that there will not be economic gender equality for another 170 years, an increase on last year’s estimate of 118 years.

The UK’s 2016 ranking marks a slide from 9th position on the WEF first’s index in 2006 and also reflects a small drop in the number of working women in senior and technical positions, as well as a reduction in the estimated income women earn compared to men.

Parity: Rwanda is ranked fifth for gender equality (Getty)

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A slight drop in the number of women parliamentarians sees the UK ranked 24th for political empowerment, although the figures do not take into account Theresa’s May’s promotion to Prime Minister following the EU Referendum in June.

By contrast, Rwanda actually has the highest share of women in parliament globally at 64%, while the Philippines scored full marks on a measure of the birth ratio and life expectancy of women.

Jemima Olchawski, head of policy and insight at the Fawcett Society, said: “This report busts the myth that gender inequality is somehow natural or inevitable and highlights how varied performance on closing gender gaps is, across the world, but also within Western Europe.

"It’s unacceptable that Britain is languishing at 53rd in the world for economic participation, is only 24th for political empowerment and performs below average overall compared to our region.

"The moral case for gender equality should be enough alone to motivate us to speed up the pace of change, but with evidence suggesting that improving gender equality could add £150 billion to our GDP it’s also clear that we simply can’t afford to wait.”

The top 10 countries in the world for gender parity, according to WEF:

1. Iceland
2. Finland
3. Norway
4. Sweden
5. Rwanda
6. Ireland
7. The Philippines
8. Slovenia
9. New Zealand
10. Nicaragua

Top pic: PA