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Iceland closer to closing the gender gap than any other country

By Staff

  • Jóhanna Sigurðardóttir Prime minister in 2009-2013 Jóhanna was the first female PM of Iceland, and the first openly gay Prime Minister in the world. Photo/GVA.

A new report on global gender equality by the World Economic Forum, shows that of all countries Iceland has made most progress toward closing the gender gap, and that nowhere in the world have greater strides been taken to closing the gender gap when it comes to political power.

Top spot, seven years running
No country in the world has fully closed the gender gap, but four out of the five Nordic countries and Ireland have closed more than 80% of it. Iceland ranks no. 1 on the Global Index of Gender equality, followed closely by Norway, Finland, Sweden and Ireland in fifth spot. The UK comes in 18th and the US 28th. Of 145 countries in the index, only Iceland, Finland, Norway, and Nicaragua are more than halfway toward equality when it comes to political power. Iceland ranks no. 5 in economic participation and opportunity, where Sweden, Norway, Barbados and Burundi take the top four spots.

This is the seventh year in a row Iceland tops the index. What’s more, the report finds that Iceland has made significant advances toward equality since 2006:

“Iceland is among the top three countries from the region that have improved the most compared to 2006 on their overall Index and Political Empowerment subindex scores. This year, Iceland’s improvement on the Economic Participation and Opportunity subindex score translated into a gain of two ranks (from the 7th to the 5th position). As of 2009, the country has fully closed its educational gender gap and ranks first on the Political Empowerment subindex.”

Sharing of political power, economic opportunties and family responsibilities
In Iceland, 41% of parliamentarians are women, 44% of ministers are women and, out of the last 50 years, 20 were spent with a female head of state. 

The report argues that there are further indicators, not included in the overall index, which show Iceland as a strong performer. Iceland is among the top three countries on the ability of women to rise to positions of enterprise leadership as well as having the longest paternity coverage. New fathers in Iceland are guaranteed 90 calendar days of paternity leave, a policy which the report argues helps both parents combine work and family.

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