Earlier this week, one analysis suggested that the growth of American women’s wages had stalled this year. While it’s important not to put too much emphasis on data from a single year, it does seem that some decades-long trends—including an increase in the percentage of women who are part of the workforce—seem to be leveling off.
On Thursday, the World Economic Forum published its 10th annual report on the gender inequality around the world, and the findings were similarly discouraging. The report analyzed data from over a hundred countries, and assessed women's progress in the categories of the economy, education, health, and politics. On the economic front, the gap shrunk only 3 percent in the last decade, with “progress towards wage equality and labor force parity stalling markedly since 2009 to 2010.” If the rate of change for the last decade stayed constant, the report estimated that it would take 118 years—until 2133—for the gender pay gap to fully close.
“While the world as a whole and most countries have made a lot of progress on closing the gap in health and education overall, we’re still a long way from parity on economic participation,” says Saadia Zahidi, the head of employment and gender initiatives at the World Economic Forum. Iceland, Norway, Finland, and Sweden top the WEF’s list in having the smallest gender gaps in the world, but, Zahidi reiterates, they still haven’t eliminated their gaps entirely.