Global Gender Gap Report 2021: Insight Report


This report by the Centre for the New Economy and Society at the Switzerland-based World Economic Forum was published on March 30, 2021. It is the 15th Global Gender Gap report, the first of which came out in 2006.

The publication contains findings from the organisation’s Global Gender Gap Index that compares gender disparities in economic opportunities, education, health and political leadership, across countries and over time.

The 2021 index covers 156 countries categorised into eight regions: East Asia and the Pacific, Eastern Europe and Central Asia, Latin America and the Caribbean, Middle East and North Africa, North America, South Asia, Sub-Saharan Africa and Western Europe.

The 405-page report has four chapters: Benchmarking Gender Gaps – Findings from the Global Gender Gap Index 2021 (Chapter 1); Impact of the COVID-19 Pandemic on Economic Gender Gaps (Chapter 2); Gender Gaps in Jobs of Tomorrow (Chapter 3) and Shaping a Gender-Equal Recovery (Chapter 4).


  1. The report states that it will take roughly 145.5 years to close the global gender gap in politics, 267.6 years for equality in economic participation and opportunity, and 14.2 years for parity in education and health. 

  2. In the 156 countries covered by the index, women occupy 26.1 per cent of about 35,500 parliamentary seats and constitute 22.6 per cent of over 3,400 ministers.

  3. Based on data from 2006 to 2021, the region with the highest rate of gender parity is Western Europe (77.6 per cent), followed by North America (76.4 per cent), Latin America and the Caribbean (71.2 per cent), Eastern Europe and Central Asia (71.1 per cent), East Asia and the Pacific region (68.9 per cent), Sub-Saharan Africa (67.2 per cent), South Asia (62.3 per cent) and Middle East and North Africa (60.9 per cent).

  4. At the current pace, the report states, gender gaps can be closed in approximately 52.1 years in Western Europe, 61.5 years in North America, 68.9 years in Latin America and the Caribbean, 121.7 years in Sub-Saharan Africa, 134.7 years in Eastern Europe and Central Asia, 165.1 years in East Asia and the Pacific, 142.4 years in Middle East and North Africa, and 195.4 years in South Asia.

  5. The top five countries in the 2021 Global Gender Gap Index are Iceland (0.892), Finland (0.861), Norway (0.849), New Zealand (0.84) and Sweden (0.823). The lowest-ranking countries are Afghanistan (0.444), Yemen (0.492), Iraq (0.535), Pakistan (0.556) and Syria (0.568).

  6. Countries that improved most since the 2020 index are Lithuania, Serbia, Timor-Leste, Togo and United Arab Emirates, with their gender gaps reducing by at least 4.4 percentage points.

  7. India ranked 140 – with a value of 0.625 – in the 2021 index, of a total of 156 countries. This is 28 places below the country's 2020 ranking.

  8. India ranked 55 in the Political Empowerment subindex, 114 in the Educational Attainment subindex, 151 in the Economic Participation and Opportunity subindex and 155 in the Health and Survival subindex.

  9. Bangladesh (0.719) ranked highest from the eight South Asian countries covered, followed by Nepal (0.683), Sri Lanka (0.670), Maldives (0.643), Bhutan (0.639), India (0.625), Pakistan (0.556) and Afghanistan (0.444).

  10. In South Asia, just 33.8 per cent of the gender gap in economic participation and opportunity is closed – Afghanistan has reduced the gap by only 18 per cent, while Nepal has covered 63 per cent.

  11. South Asia’s gender gap in political empowerment has reduced only by 28.1 per cent. There has been more progress in the spheres of educational attainment and health and survival, where the gaps have narrowed by 93.3 per cent and 94.2 per cent.

    Focus and Factoids by Abizar Shaikh.


World Economic Forum, Switzerland


World Economic Forum, Switzerland


30 Mar, 2021