A Swiss research institute has placed Japan in 110th place in the world ranking on gender equality, citing the small number of female lawmakers and business managers.
After years of advances in education, health, and political representation, women registered setbacks in all three areas this year, the WEF said. This serious gender imbalance at birth puts it at the bottom of the WEF's rankings in terms of women's health and survival.
Compounding the gender gap in AI, particularly in wages, are where women are more prevalent - women in AI are only more represented in lower paying industries such as non-profits, education, and healthcare. However, data also suggest that a regional divergence is taking place, with 22 Western economies witnessing an improvement in political empowerment for women as opposed to a widening in the rest of the world.
The report, which was published this week, showed Rwanda leading the region despite moving down two places after a reversal in progress on economic participation and opportunity.
In sharp contrast, Canada ranks 16th in the overall table for closing the gender gap, maintaining its top spot in the region as well as its position in the global top 20.
As per the WEF's Global Gender Gap Report 2018, released Tuesday, while India has many challenges as it ranks 142nd out of 149 countries in the economic opportunity and participation subindex, it also has a few achievements. Concurrently, a positive sign is that more women are assuming leadership roles, at 34% globally.
Among other major economies, France ranked 12th, Germany 14th and the United States 51st. However, access to health and education, and political empowerment showed reversals.More news: Obamacare-Related Stocks Plunge After Judge Rules ACA Unconstitutional
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The global list was topped by Iceland, having closed more than 85.8 per cent of its overall gender gap.
The Global Gender Gap Index report revealed pay disparity has been reduced by 0.03 per cent since past year and by 3.6 per cent since the index first started in 2006. "As far back as 1971, single women in their thirties who had worked continuously since high school earned slightly more than men of the same description".
"In an era when human skills are increasingly important and complementary to technology, the world can not afford to deprive itself of women's talent in sectors in which talent is already scarce", said Klaus Schwab, founder and executive chairman of the WEF.
Apart from the Philippines, full parity on this indicator is already a reality in Bahamas, Colombia, Jamaica, Lao PDR, and in another 19 countries there are at least 40 percent of women in managerial positions, the WEF said.
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.
In economic participation and opportunity, the income parity index stood at 0.532, lower than the global average of 0.632.