Progress for working women has stalled, according to new index

This despite growing attention to the gender pay gap, the #MeToo movement and calls to improve opportunities for women in the workplace.
By: | March 15, 2019


Despite growing attention to the gender pay gap, the #MeToo movement and calls to improve opportunities for women in the workplace over the past year, a new report from The Economist suggests that progress for women in the workplace has stalled.

The Economist’s 2019 glass-ceiling index  is a yearly assessment of where women have the best and worst chances of equal treatment at work in countries in the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD).

The OECD includes the US, UK, France, Germany, and Asia-Pacific nations such as Austalia and Japan.

The GCI, which combines data on higher education, labour-force participation, pay, child-care costs, maternity and paternity rights, business-school applications and representation in senior jobs to create a ranking of 29 OECD countries, shows that the Nordic countries are still the best places to work if you are a woman.

The Nordics are particularly good at helping women complete university, secure a job, access senior positions, and take advantage of quality parental-leave systems and flexible work schedules.

Turkey, Japan, and South Korea continue to rank as the worst places to be a working woman in The Economist’s glass-ceiling index. Societal norms in Asia still expect women to choose between having a family or a career.

Highlights of this year’s index include:

  • The gender pay gap remains largely unchanged at around 14%
  • The share of women in the labour force has crept slightly higher to 64%, but this is still 16 percentage points below the male average
  • The share of women in management has flatlined since last year at 32%
  • Fewer women took the GMAT business-school entry exams, but this is in line with an overall fall in both men and women taking the test
  • The share of women on company boards slightly increased to 23%

This is the seventh year that The Economist has released its glass-ceiling index.

When it was launched in 2013 there were five indicators and 26 countries; today it consists of ten indicators including maternity and paternity leave for 29 OECD countries.

Check out the ranking of best-to-worst OECD countries to be a working woman, below:

1          Sweden
2          Norway
3          Iceland
4          Finland
5          France
6          Belgium
7          Denmark
8          Portugal
9          Hungary
10         Poland
11         Canada
12         Italy
13         Slovakia
14         Austria
15         Spain
16         Israel
17         Australia
18         New Zealand
19         Ireland
20         United States
21         Germany
22         Greece
23         Czech Republic
24         Britain
25         Netherlands
26         Switzerland
27         Turkey
28         Japan
29         South Korea