Austrian Gender Gap Still Wide on Pay

News Brief: Nov. 2010

Austria still has not succeeded in closing its gender gap, according to the Global Gender Gap Report 2010 published on Oct. 12 by the World Economic Forum (WEF), an international think tank headquartered in Geneva and widely known for its annual meeting in Davos.

The Alpine Republic ranked 37th in gender equality, according to the study, which analyzed not only gender gaps relating to wages, but also to life expectancy and employment, among others.

This ranking is up from 42nd in 2009, a change due however to the worsening of other states rather than active improvements here, the report noted. Of the old EU countries, only France, Greece and Italy are behind Austria. While ranking only 126th according to the report’s index on pay equality, Austria’s percentage of women in government (rank 9) alone suggests a positive development.

The Nordic countries of Iceland, Norway, Finland and Sweden continue to offer the highest level of equality for men and women, and several of Austria’s European neighbors made it into the top 20, including Switzerland, Spain, Germany and Great Britain.

Ranking 94th out of 134, Japan has the worst gender gap ratio in the developed world. Generally, progress has been made since the first report in 2006, noted Saadia Zahidi, co-author of the study. Fifty-nine percent of the 134 countries have succeeded in reducing their gender gaps, with the most significant inequalities still being political and economic, and almost no gender-related differences regarding health care and education.

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