American women still have a long road to travel before they achieve full economic equality. The wage gap is stubbornly stuck. We still have too few high powered female professionals. Workplace discrimination is far from dead.
Yet, a new report from the World Economic Forum also offers a nice reminder that, even though we may have lots of room for improvement, the United States is still further along than most of the developed world when it comes to female economic opportunity.
Yesterday, the WEF released the 2012 edition of its Global Gender Gap Report, which ranks 135 nations on four measures of equality between the sexes: economic participation and opportunity, educational attainment, health and survival, and political empowerment. Overall, the United States ranked 22nd, which on its face sounds like a pretty rough showing (I've broken out the top 25 on the right). But if you get inside the numbers, and especially the economic rankings, they're much more encouraging.
(A quick note: The survey doesn't care how wealthy a country is, only how egalitarian. So, if you look to the right again, you may notice that an impoverished nation such as Cuba, where men and women face about equally awful circumstances, ranks right alongside to a rich nation like Austria, where men and women alike enjoy fairly bright prospects.)