On 21 November, World Economic Forum, a private organization whose headquarters is located in Switzerland, published the Gender Gap Index (GGI) of the year 2006, which indicates gender disparities existing in 115 countries and territories in the world. Japan ranks the 79th in the Index, retreating significantly from the 38th among 58 countries in 2005.
Contrary to the existing GEM (gender empowerment measures), which indicate achievements of women including in the fields of education and social participation, the GGI[PDF14815KB] focus on disparities because achievements may depend on other factors than gender, such as social and economic development of a particular country. The GGI cover four fields: economic participation and opportunity, educational attainment, health and survival as well as political empowerment. In the economic field, gender gaps are measured on the basis of gender differences in labour forces and wages as well as administrative and professional posts. In the field of education, gender differences in literacy as well as enrolment rates at the primary, secondary and higher levels are taken into account. Attention is paid to gender differences in life expectancy and sex ratio in the field of health, and to male and female representation in parliament and the cabinet in the field of political empowerment.
Sweden, Norway and Finland rank the highest this year. The top ten list is largely occupied by EU countries, except the Philippines which ranks the 6th. Although Japan stands first in the field of health, it remains at the 83rd in the field of economic and political participation. In the field of education, it also ranks low in terms of higher education, ranking the 76th, while it stands first in terms of literacy as well as primary and secondary education.
· The Global Gender Gap Report 2006 (World Economic Forum)
· The Global Gender Gap Report 2006 [PDF 14815KB]
· "World Economic Forum: Japan Ranks 79th in Gender Equality - Lowest among G7 Countries", Mainichi Shimbun, 22 November 2006 [Japanese]