The annual Global Economic Gender Gap Study for 2012 is released. This year’s findings show that Iceland tops the overall rankings in The Global Gender Gap Index for the fourth consecutive year. Finland ranks in second position, overtaking Norway (third). Sweden remains in fourth position. Northern European countries dominate the top 10 with Ireland in the fifth position, Denmark (seventh) and Switzerland (10th). New Zealand (sixth), Philippines (eighth) and Nicaragua (ninth) complete the top 10. Italy, Greece (82) and Turkey (124) rank lowest in Europe.
The data suggests a strong correlation between those countries that are most successful at closing the gender gap and those that are the most economically competitive. “The key for the future of any country and any institution is the capability to attract the best talents,” said Klaus Schwab, Founder and Executive Chairman of the World Economic Forum. “In the future, talent will be more important than capital or anything else. To develop the gender dimension is not just a question of equality; it is the entry card to succeed and prosper in an ever more competitive world.”
Meanwhile, European Justice Commissioner Viviane Reding’s proposal for 40 per cent quotas of women on company boards was postponed until November, due to lack of support from her fellow commissioners. Reding’s planned legislation to impose a quota for women on corporate boards includes fines for firms that fail to comply. On Twitter, Reding said “The European Parliament has called for action to get more women into boardrooms. The time to act is now.” and promised “I will not give up,” because Europe has a “lot to gain from more diverse corporate boards.” Based on the seven years of data available for the 111 countries that have been part of the report since its inception, Global economic Gender Gap gives her right as it finds that the majority of countries covered have made slow progress on closing gender gaps.