The UK is falling behind in achieving gender equality, according to the latest audit by the World Economic Forum (WEF).
In terms of gender equality across politics, economics, health and education, the WEF ranked the UK 21st globally this year – six places lower than in 2018.
Though the UK has recently elected a record number of female MPs, the WEF said the number of women in top ministerial positions has actually dropped since last year.
It also blamed the UK's fall in the rankings on disappointing levels of economic equality: the gender pay gap in the UK is 16%, compared to 7% in Sweden and Norway. Meanwhile, more than three times as many women in the UK are in part-time roles compared to men.
“[The] UK’s economic gender gap comes in at 58th worldwide, brought down by big gaps in the estimated earned income of women (the country came 102nd on this) compared to men, as well as straightforward wage inequality (76th)," the WEF said.
For the eleventh year in a row, the WEF named Iceland the best country in the world for gender equality. Fellow Scandinavian nations Norway, Finland and Sweden are right behind, followed by Nicaragua.
Ireland places seventh overall – a full 14 places ahead of the UK. Check out the top ten below.
1. Iceland (gender gap 88% closed)
2. Norway (84%)
3. Finland (83%)
4. Sweden (82%)
5. Nicaragua (80%)
6. New Zealand (80%)
7. Ireland (80%)
8. Spain (80%)
9. Rwanda (79%)
10. Germany (79%)
Though the gender gap in Iceland is now 88% closed, it's still only 69% closed globally. The WEF estimates that it will take another 99.5 years (!) for the gender gap to be closed completely across the world.
“At the present rate of change, it will take nearly a century to achieve parity, a timeline we simply cannot accept in today’s globalised world, especially among younger generations who hold increasingly progressive views of gender equality,” said Klaus Schwab, the WEF's founder and executive chairman.