According to the World Economic Forum’s Global Gender Gap Report 2010, the labour force participation rate of women has increased from 41 per cent in 2009 to 43 this year while the wage gap narrowed relative to the $40,000 maximum value for men.
The report said there are small gains in primary, secondary and tertiary enrolment data, and the proportion of women holding ministerial level positions has increased.
All these factors helped the country to attain top position in the Arab world in gender equality and also pushed the country’s ranking up by nine places worldwide, the report said.
According to the World Economic Forum’s Global Gender Gap Report 2010, the UAE remained top Arab country in equality between men and women, lifting its ranking to 103 this year from 112 last year in a survey of 134 countries. The UAE was followed by Kuwait with a ranking of 105, Bahrain (110), Lebanon (116), Qatar (117), Oman (122), Egypt (125) and Saudi Arabia (129).
The UAE was ranked among the high-income countries with per capita income of $12,196 or more.
The report said that Bahrain’s improvements are mainly driven by significant increase in the proportion of women legislators, senior officials and managers and the proportion of women holding ministerial level positions. The highest-ranking economies of the region have invested large amounts of resources in increasing women’s education levels - in many, the tertiary education enrolment rates of women are higher than those of men - and these countries will now need to better integrate these women into the economy to reap the benefits of this investment.
Saudi Arabia’s performance over the last five years puts it among the highest climbers of the 114 countries that have been included in the Report since 2006.
During 2009-10, the labour force participation rate of women has climbed from 20 per cent to 22 per cent in the Kingdom, the perception of the wage gap for similar work has improved, literacy rates have improved and women’s enrolment in tertiary education also increased from 35 per cent to 37 per cent. But the kingdom remained the lowest-ranking country in the region on political empowerment, with the lowest possible score of zero.
The report showed that Nordic countries Iceland, Norway, Finland and Sweden continue to demonstrate the greatest equality between men and women.