South Korea slipped down to 118th among 144 countries in terms of gender equality in a World Economic Forum report released Thursday, largely due to lack of women’s economic participation. Last year South Korea was No. 116.
According to the Global Gender Gap Report 2017, South Korea scored 0.65 points, coming between Tunisia at No. 117 and Gambia at No. 119. A higher rank indicates a more equal society for men and women.
South Korea ranked relatively well at 84th in health and survival on the back of high life expectancy. But it remained low in economic participation at 121st, mostly due to the gender wage gap and low female representation in senior posts.
The annual report ranks 144 countries on its Global Gender Gap Index to see how they compare in terms of gender equality on four key dimensions: economic participation and opportunities, educational attainment, health and survival and political empowerment.
Globally, disparities between men and women widened for the first time in 11 years since the WEF began to release the rankings, with imbalances in salaries, a drop in women’s labor participation and lack of women’s political representation being major factors, according to the report.
At the current pace, the overall global gender gap will take 100 years to close, compared to 83 years last year, the report said. As for the economic gender gap, it would take 217 years to narrow, compared with 170 last year.
The top spots in the gender gap index were dominated by Scandinavian countries, with Iceland placed at first, Finland at second and Norway at third. Rwanda came in fourth, making it the highest ranking non-European country.
Asia’s big economies dipped in the gender equality ranking, with China at No. 100, India at 108 and Japan at 114. Among Asian countries, the Philippines ranked highest at No. 10.