Global Gender Gap Report 2024

Key Findings

The Global Gender Gap Index annually benchmarks the current state and evolution of gender parity across four key dimensions (Economic Participation and Opportunity, Educational Attainment, Health and Survival, and Political Empowerment). It is the longest-standing index tracking the progress of numerous countries’ efforts towards closing these gaps over time since its inception in 2006.

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This year, the 18th edition of the Global Gender Gap Index benchmarks gender parity across 146 economies, providing a basis for the analysis of gender parity developments across two-thirds of the world’s economies. Further, the index examines a subset of 101 countries that have been included in every edition of the index since 2006, offering a broad country sample for longitudinal and trend analysis. The Global Gender Gap Index measures scores on a 0-100 scale and scores can be interpreted as the distance covered towards parity (i.e. the percentage of the gender gap that has been closed). Cross-country comparisons support the identification of the most effective policies to close gender gaps.

Key findings include the index results in 2024, trend analysis of the trajectory towards parity and in-depth examination of historical and emerging patterns through new metrics partnerships and contextual data.

Global results and time to parity

The global gender gap score in 2024 for all 146 countries included in this edition stands at 68.5% closed. Compared against the constant sample of 143 countries included in last year’s edition, the global gender gap has been closed by a further +.1 percentage point, from 68.5% to 68.6%. When considering the 101 countries covered continuously from 2006 to 2024, the gap has also improved +.1 points and reached 68.6%.

The lack of meaningful, widespread change since the last edition effectively slows down the rate of progress to attain parity. Based on current data, it will take 134 years to reach full parity – roughly five generations beyond the 2030 Sustainable Development Goal (SDG) target. In addition:

  • The 2024 Global Gender Gap Index shows that while no country has achieved full gender parity, 97% of the economies included in this edition have closed more than 60% of their gap, compared to 85% in 2006.
  • Iceland (93.5%) is again ranked 1st and has been leading the index for a decade and a half. It also continues to be the only economy to have closed over 90% of its gender gap. Out of the remaining nine economies in the top 10, eight have closed over 80% of their gap.
  • European economies occupy seven spots out of the global top 10. In addition to Iceland, these include Finland (2nd, 87.5%), Norway (3rd, 87.5%), Sweden (5th , 81.6%), Germany (7th, 81%), Ireland (9th, 80.2%) and Spain (10th, 79.7%). The remaining three spots are occupied by economies from Eastern Asia and the Pacific (New Zealand, 4th, 83.5%), Latin America and the Caribbean (Nicaragua, 6th, 81.1%), and Sub-Saharan Africa (Namibia, 8th, 80.5%). Lithuania (11th, 79.3%) and Belgium (12th, 79.3%) dropped out of the top 10, with Spain and Ireland climbing +8 and +2 ranks, respectively, to join the top performers in 2024.
  • Among the 146 economies covered in the 2024 index, the Health and Survival gender gap has closed by 96%, the Educational Attainment gap by 94.9%, the Economic Participation and Opportunity gap by 60.5%, and the Political Empowerment gap by 22.5%.
  • Since 2006, subindexes have shifted at different paces, based on the constant sample of 101 countries. Overall, the most significant shift occurs in Political Empowerment, where parity has jumped a total of 8.3 percentage points to 22.8% over the past 18 editions. In Economic Participation and Opportunity and Educational Attainment, parity has gained 4.8 and 4.2 percentage points respectively. Health and Survival is the only subindex where there has been a moderate decline from 2006 (-0.2 points).
  • With the evolving pace of each individual subindex affecting their respective timelines to parity, results from this year have extended the wait for parity in Educational Attainment to 20 years (+4 years from 2023) and Political Empowerment to 169 years (+7 years from 2023), yet brought forth the timeline for Economic Participation and Opportunity to 152 years (-17 years from 2023). The time to close the Health and Survival gender gap remains undefined.

Regional results and time to parity

  • Europe leads the 2024 regional gender gap rankings, having closed 75% of its gap in 2024, with an overall improvement of +6.2 percentage points since 2006. The top five European economies – Iceland, Finland, Norway, Sweden and Germany – all rank in the global top 10. However, while 21 out of the 40 economies in the region have closed over 75% of their gender gap, the distance between the top and bottom rank indicates broad intraregional disparities. Iceland, the highest-ranking, leads by 29 percentage points over Türkiye, which sits at the bottom. Europe shows modest gains in economic parity, with a slight uptick of +0.4 percentage points in its Economic Participation and Opportunity score (67.8%). The region’s educational gender parity score is the third-highest (99.5%), globally, while health parity has stagnated. With an upwards trending curve, political parity in Europe has progressively scaled to the highest score among all regions in 2024 (36%).
  • Ranked second, Northern America reports a gender parity score of 74.8%. Compared to other regions, however, the region has closed its regional gender gap by +4.3 percentage points since 2006. Despite leading in the Economic Participation and Opportunity subindex, its economic parity score has declined slightly to 76.3%, reflecting disparities in earned income and women’s representation in senior leadership positions. Maintaining stability throughout editions, Northern America scores 100% in Educational Attainment and 96.9% in Health and Survival. In Political Empowerment, Northern America ranks third with a score of 26%, showing progress since 2006, yet also demonstrating persistent underrepresentation of women in ministerial and parliamentary positions.
  • In third place is Latin America and the Caribbean, with a gender parity score of 74.2%. The region has made the biggest leap since 2006, reducing its overall gap by 8.3 percentage points. The region reached its highest economic parity score to date, of 65.7%, a slight uptick of +.5 percentage points from 2023, surging as a result of strong parity in labour-force participation and in professional roles. Educational Attainment and Health and Survival remain stable at 99.5% and 97.6%, respectively. While most economies show parity in literacy and education enrolment, disparities in access persist. At 34%, Latin America and the Caribbean has the second highest Political Empowerment score of all regions, having narrowed the gap by over 22.4 percentage points since 2006.
  • Eastern Asia and the Pacific ranks fourth, with an overall gender parity score of 69.2%. While there’s been a positive shift of +3.1 percentage points overall since 2006, only New Zealand and the Philippines have made the global top 10 since then. The Economic Participation and Opportunity score for the region is 71.7%, showing progress since 2023 but revealing significant disparities between countries in labour-force participation rates and workforce representation. The region’s Educational Attainment gender parity score stands at 95.1%, reflecting gender gaps in literacy and enrolment levels. Health and Survival, despite a slight improvement, ranks last, at 95%, with some countries still lagging in healthy life expectancy and sex birth ratio parity. Political Empowerment has improved overall since 2006 (+3.4 percentage points), but its 2024 score of 14.5% ranks it third from the bottom against other regions.
  • Central Asia ranks fifth out of eight regions with a score of 69.1%. Despite a slight regression in the parity score, there has been an overall improvement of +2.3 percentage points since 2006. Notably, all seven economies in Central Asia have achieved parity levels equal to or higher than 67%, with Armenia (72.1%), Georgia (71.6%), and Kazakhstan (71%) leading the region. With a 4.8 percentage-point difference between the highest and lowest performer, Central Asia is one of the most homogenous groupings. The region maintains near-parity status in Educational Attainment, the second highest score of all regions (99.6%), after Northern America (100%). However, the region saw regression in both economic and political parity: the 73.4% Economic Participation and Opportunity parity score is -0.6 points lower than in 2023, and the 12.8% Political Empowerment parity score declines by -1.6 percentage points.
  • In sixth place is Sub-Saharan Africa, with a gender parity score of 68.4%. The region has advanced by an overall +5.6 percentage points since 2006. While 21 out of 35 economies are in the top 100, Namibia stands out as a top 10 performer. Over half of the countries in the region have closed over 70% of their gender gap; however, the top and bottom ranks are divided by 22.8 percentage points. Economic Participation and Opportunity stands at 68.1%, with progress in labour-force participation and positive results in technical and professional roles. Ranking last in Educational Attainment, Sub-Saharan Africa has the widest gap to close, with a score of 88.9%. Health and Survival stands at 97.1%, while Political Empowerment shows improvement at 22.6%, with notable strides in ministerial and parliamentary representation, particularly in Mozambique and South Africa.
  • In 2024, Southern Asia ranks seventh, with a gender parity score of 63.7%, showing a variable trajectory throughout editions that has nonetheless resulted in a modest +3.9 percentage-point improvement since 2006. Six out of the seven economies in the region rank below the top 100, and only six in the region have closed two-thirds of their gender gap. Southern Asia ranks last in Economic Participation and Opportunity. Its gender parity score of 38.8% communicates low labour-force participation rates for women and significant gender disparities in leadership roles. Educational Attainment scores 94.5%, having progressed by +13.4 percentage points since 2006, but retains substantive gender gaps in literacy and education, notably in Pakistan and Nepal. Health and Survival remains stable at 95.4%, while Political Empowerment sees a slight 0.7-point decline from 2023 to 26%, reflecting gender imbalances in ministerial and parliamentary representation across the region.
  • Middle East and North Africa ranks last among all regions, with a gender parity score of 61.7%. Despite this result, the region has seen an overall positive trajectory since 2006, advancing its gender gap score by +3.9 percentage points. In Economic Participation and Opportunity, MENA countries rank 7th overall, with a score of 43.1%. Labour-force participation remains low in the region, but representation in professional roles is evolving positively. Educational Attainment has seen marked progress, with a score of 97.2%, and shows widespread gender parity in literacy and enrolment across levels of education. Health and Survival remains stable at 96.4%, with balanced sex ratios at birth but enduring gaps in healthy life expectancy. The region’s performance in Political Empowerment in 2024 ranks lowest of all at 11.7%, although behind the figure is an +8.4 percentage-point increase in political parity since 2006, with increasing levels of women’s representation in ministerial and parliamentary roles across economies.

Economic and leadership gaps: constraining growth and skewing transitions

  • Economic, political and business context: The current global economic and regulatory context is shaping gender parity outcomes. A mixed economic outlook offers hints of short-term optimism, while predictions of long-term growth rates are at their lowest in 30 years. Economic prospects for women and girls are threatened by the continued downturns and prolonged crises. While the adoption of economic policies to advance gender equality has increased overall, across regions there are stark differences in not only adoption but also resourcing and implementation. Raising the required resources to close the gap requires a fundamental mindset to recognize gender parity as an engine for new, high-quality growth. Encouragingly, policy developments in the care economy signal growing recognition of the economic significance of caregiving. Business efforts to improve gender parity are gaining momentum in Latin America, the Middle East, and East Asia. Where diversity, equity, and inclusion (DEI) efforts are longer lasting, the returns follow: increased productivity, adaptability to change and stronger innovation outcomes. Gender parity is a competitive advantage in an increasingly tough macro-economic and business environment.
  • Evolving gender gaps in the global labour market: Parity in labour-force participation globally has continued to improve since last edition, rising beyond 2018 levels to reach 65.7% for the constant sample of economies tracked since 2006 – and standing at an aggregate score of 66.7% for those included in 2024 alone. Yet, regional variances continue to show that while women’s workforce participation is recovering at the global level, parity advances at very different speeds across contexts. The sustainability of this trend, however, remains uncertain. Global unemployment is expected to rise in lower-income economies, and the jobs gap, a broader measure of those looking for work, also includes a disproportionate number of women.
  • Workforce representation and leadership: In 2024, LinkedIn data shows that women’s workforce representation remains below men’s across nearly every industry and economy, with women accounting for 42% of the global workforce and 31.7% of senior leaders. Top-level positions remain narrowly accessible for women, globally speaking, illustrated by the global “drop to the top”: in 2024, the ascent from entry level to the C-suite is steeped in a 21.5 percentage-point difference in representation. While women are close to occupying nearly half of entry-level positions, they fall short of representing just one-quarter of C-suite roles. Hailed in past editions as a promising trend, women’s hiring into leadership began to deteriorate, from 37.5% to 36.9% in 2023, and continued dropping in early 2024 to 36.4%, below 2021 levels. LinkedIn research indicates that worsening macro-economic conditions are linked to a decrease in hiring women into senior leadership roles. However, the higher women’s representation in the workforce is, the greater the resilience to retrenchment during economic downturns.
  • Leadership representation in government: In 2024, the largest global population in history is set to vote in over 60 national elections, including in major economies such as Bangladesh, Brazil, India, Indonesia, Mexico, Pakistan and the United States. Over the past 50 years, nearly half (47.2%) of economies tracked by the Global Gender Gap Index have had at least one woman in top political office. Gender parity in parliamentary representation reached a record high of 33% in 2024, nearly doubling since 2006 (18.8%). At the regional level, Latin America demonstrates continuous improvement over time.
  • The role of professional networks: Gender parity in the workforce can be advanced through both formal measures like quotas and policies, as well as through informal factors such as professional networks. LinkedIn data suggests gender gaps in online professional networks lead to men typically having larger networks and stronger networks than women. Stronger networks are associated with increased probability of career progression and receive more recruiter outreach. However, one silver lining is that women have more “weak” ties, which have been linked to better career outcomes.
  • The role of equitable care systems: Women’s workforce participation is only just recovering from the recent surge in caregiving responsibilities, highlighting the urgent need for equitable care systems. Significant gaps exist between and within regions in terms of formal protections and provisions for parental leave, as well as perceptions of men’s and women’s participation in equal caregiving. However, attitudes and frameworks for care are evolving alongside the growing demand for broader care provision. In the past 50 years, the average number of maternity leave days have increased from 63 to 107, and paternity leave days have increased from less than a day to nine, on average. This is important as World Bank research has found that increased parity in leave allocations is positively correlated with higher female labour-force participation. Further actions are needed beyond childcare if workers are to be supported as informal caregivers and/or as formal care workers.
  • Gender gaps skewing the technology transition: According to LinkedIn data, women’s representation in both science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM) and non-STEM workforces has increased since 2016, yet women remain underrepresented in STEM roles, comprising only 28.2% of the STEM workforce compared to 47.3% in non-STEM sectors. The “drop to the top” from entry-level to C-suite positions is more pronounced in STEM occupations than in non-STEM roles. Women make up over half of the workforce base in non-STEM roles, compared to only a third in STEM. In turn, they make up a fourth of non-STEM leaders, and only over one-tenth in STEM. This gives women a double disadvantage with regards to technological and workforce transitions, as they continue to occupy the lower-growth, lower-paying jobs that are likely to be negatively affected in the short term.
  • Gender gaps in AI talent: Recent developments are more promising when it comes to AI talent specifically. As technology becomes increasingly central to business transformation, new LinkedIn data reveals that the concentration of female talent in AI engineering has more than doubled since 2016. While women still have a smaller industry presence than men, sectors like Technology, Information, and Media have seen significant increases in female AI talent. At the industry level, gender parity in AI industry representation has increased gradually in Education; Professional Services; Manufacturing; and Technology, Information and Media.
  • Gender gaps in the skills of the future: Gender differences in skilling profiles continue, skewing how men and women are engaging in the technological transition and the possibilities they have in the future of work. While men and women continue to showcase STEM skills disproportionately, the share of women with STEM skills has increased since 2016, from 24.4% to 27.1% in less than a decade. From an online learning perspective, Coursera data suggest that gender parity is highest in enrolments for the development of collaboration and leadership skills, teaching and mentoring, empathy and active listening, and leadership and social influence. However, gender parity in online skilling is currently too low in AI and big data (30%), programming (31%) and networks and cybersecurity (31%) courses to close existing workforce gaps.
  • Gender gaps in perception of skills demand and opportunities to upskill: Survey data from PwC reveals that a majority of male and female employees are actively seeking opportunities to expand their skillset, with most possessing a good understanding of how their job requirements will transform over the next five years. Gender differences, however, are evident in the perception of demand, given current roles, with women estimating digital, analytical, and green skills to be less important to their current career trajectories over the next five years. There is also a gender gap in perceived opportunities to acquire the skills of the future. As men and women transition from schooling to the workforce, their skillsets continue to be shaped and valued differently. It is in this space that reskilling can play a key role in valorizing all skills needed in the future of work, and, therefore, in incentivizing men and women to participate without gender bias in all types of work.

As shown by this year’s index results, the scale and speed of progress are deeply insufficient to achieve gender equality by 2030. Resourcing gender-equality efforts is crucial to avoid the rollback of hard-earned progress, and to ensure that pathways to growth, prosperity, innovation, and sustainability are levelling the ground for all persons. Achieving gender equality demands government and business to shift both resources and mindsets towards a new paradigm of economic thinking, where gender parity is embraced as a condition for equitable and sustainable growth. Through collaborative efforts and targeted interventions between governments and business, we can make 50/50 a reality.

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