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David Reece Slutwalk protester
A protester raises her fist at the 2011 Slutwalk demonstrations in LondonDavid Reece via Flickr

The gender gap narrows almost everywhere except UK

Nicaragua, Rwanda and the Philippines all ranked above us for gender equality

There's good news and bad news. The good news is that the global gender gap is narrowing, with 105 countries in the world becoming more equal and providing a better place for women to live. The bad news? The UK isn't among them. 

According to the new Global Gender Gap Report from the World Economic Forum (WEF), we've dropped out of the top 20 countries for gender equality as the gap between men and women in this country widens. Over the past year, the country has slipped from 18th to 26th position, behind countries like Nicaragua, Rwanda and the Philippines. The top five spots were dominated by Nordic countries such as Iceland, Finland, Norway, Sweden and Denmark respectively.      

The country also failed abysmally to make the top 20 for improving equality in the economy, education, health and politics. Our plummeting position is blamed on a bad score for economic participation, which measures indicators like wage equality, the ratio of women to men in the workplace and the number of women in senior roles.  

The worst part? This isn't even a fluke. The UK's lower position is part of an overall decline; we've never risen higher than number nine, and that was in 2006 when the Global Gender Gap Report first started collecting data.

The WEF commented on the findings: "(In the economic participation subsets the UK) appears to remain some way off, with the country ranking 48th in terms of both labour force participation and wage equality and 66th for estimated earned income."

"Unlike many of its peers, it has still yet to close its educational attainment and health and survival gaps (ranking 32 and 94 respectively), while it does moderately better in the fourth area we measure, political empowerment, where it ranks 33rd."

Don't get too cocky over that last bit. Equal political empowerment in the UK currently amounts to only 148 female MPs versus 501 male MPs in Parliament. 

The UK joins countries like Sri Lanka, Mali, Croatia, Macedonia, Jordan and Tunisia as one of the few places in the world where the gender gap is widening. 

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