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Jordan’s gender gap widens to rank near bottom of index

By Maram Kayed - Dec 18,2018 - Last updated at Dec 18,2018

AMMAN — Jordan dropped three spots to rank 138th out of 149 countries in the 2018 Global Gender Gap Index report launched by the World Economic Forum (WEF).

When the report was first introduced in 2006, Jordan was 93rd globally, but its rank has gradually gone down the scale over the years, with the report stating that the country’s overall performance this year “remains largely unchanged”. 

Weighing Jordan against other countries in the region, the country was placed 10th, 19 spots behind Tunisia, which recorded the narrowest gender gap regionally at 119th, followed by the UAE at the 121st spot. 

Also ahead of Jordan in the region were Kuwait, Qatar, Algeria, Bahrain and Mauritania, in addition to Egypt and Morocco. 

Despite the progress in countries like Tunisia, complete financial equality between the genders in the Middle East and North Africa, which is the region with the widest gender gap in the world, would take some 153 years to attain, according to the report.

The Geneva-based organisation’s annual report seeks to measure disparities between women and men across four key areas: health, education, economic opportunity and political empowerment. 

Even though Jordan dropped three ranks since last year, its ranking has improved in two of the four categories, climbing up six spots in the “Educational Attainment” index to achieve a rank among the top 50 countries worldwide at 42nd.

The second area in which the Kingdom witnessed significant improvement was the “Health and Survival” index, going up 11 ranks to reach the 102nd placement.

Nonetheless, the country’s score was weighed down by a near-the-bottom ranking in “Economic Participation and Opportunity”, where its position stood at 144th, as well as “Political Involvement” where it ranked 129th.

The data also showed another significant finding, which is that the proportion of women married by the age of 25 is 30 per cent, while it is 7 per cent for men.

The WEF said that globally, women registered setbacks in the three areas of education, health and political representation this year, and despite a small narrowing in the gap in the in the area of economic opportunity, the global wage gap stands today at 51 per cent, noting that this gap is expected to take 202 years to close.

The countries with the narrowest disparities between the sexes were Iceland, Norway and Sweden, while Yemen recorded the widest gap, followed by Pakistan, Iraq and Syria.

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