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Pakistan Makes Progress on Global Gender Gap

Pakistan has shown significant improvement in its performance on the Global Gender Gap Report 2023, according to the latest findings released today by the World Economic Forum. The annual report, which assesses gender equality across various sectors, highlights achievements as well as areas for further improvement.

With an overall ranking of 142nd out of 146 economies, Pakistan has reached its highest score since 2006, achieving 57.5% gender parity. Notably, the country has made considerable progress in the Economic Participation and Opportunity subindex, with a 5.1 percentage point increase in the last decade, bringing parity to 36.2%. Although this level of parity remains one of the lowest globally, Pakistan has shown broad progress across all indicators in this subindex, particularly in the representation of women in technical roles and wage equality for similar work.

Pakistan’s performance on the Global Gender Gap Report 2023 reflects a mix of progress and persistent challenges. While the country has made notable improvements in certain areas, such as education and health, there are still significant gender disparities that need to be addressed in economic and political empowerment. Pakistan has achieved its highest overall score since 2006, indicating a commitment to advancing gender equality. However, continued efforts are necessary to bridge the gender gap, particularly in economic participation, political representation, and senior leadership roles. Pakistan recognizes the importance of empowering women and creating an inclusive society that ensures equal opportunities for all.

Implementing comprehensive policies and strategies, investing in education and healthcare, and fostering an enabling environment, Pakistan aims to accelerate progress toward achieving gender parity and building a more equitable future for its citizens.

Pakistan’s performance on the Education Attainment pillar of the Global Gender Gap Report 2023 demonstrates significant progress and a commitment to equal access to education. With a score of 0.825, Pakistan ranks 138th, showcasing improvements in literacy rates and enrollment in secondary and tertiary education. Efforts to bridge the gender gap in education have resulted in commendable achievements, particularly in enrollment rates at the primary and tertiary levels. However, challenges persist in ensuring gender parity across all educational indicators. Pakistan acknowledges the importance of continued investments in education and the empowerment of women through access to quality education, enabling them to contribute fully to society and the economy.

Pakistan’s performance on the Health and Survival pillar reflects both progress and areas for improvement. With a score of 0.961, placing it at 132nd position, Pakistan has made significant strides in achieving parity in the sex ratio at birth, a crucial indicator of gender equality. Efforts to improve access to healthcare services and address gender disparities in health outcomes have contributed to this positive result. However, challenges persist in ensuring equitable access to healthcare facilities and achieving gender parity in healthy life expectancy. Pakistan recognizes the importance of further investments in healthcare infrastructure, preventive measures, and addressing social factors that influence health outcomes. By focusing on improving the health and well-being of all its citizens, Pakistan aims to enhance gender equality in the realm of health and survival.

Pakistan’s performance on the Political Empowerment pillar of the GGG Report 2023 reveals that the widest gender gap is in Political Empowerment, where it lags behind with a 15.2% gender parity score and a ranking of 95th. Pakistan faces significant challenges in achieving gender parity in political representation, as evidenced by the underrepresentation of women in parliament and full ministerial positions. This highlights the existing barriers and cultural norms that limit women’s political participation. Pakistan acknowledges the importance of promoting women’s empowerment and increasing their meaningful involvement in decision-making processes. By implementing measures such as promoting gender quotas, enhancing political leadership training for women, and addressing societal biases, Pakistan aims to create an inclusive political landscape that reflects the diversity and equal participation of all its citizens. The advancement of gender equality in political empowerment is vital for ensuring that women’s voices are heard, and their perspectives are represented in shaping the nation’s policies and governance.

Despite these advancements, efforts are needed to increase the representation of women in political leadership

positions. Currently, Pakistan has had a female head of state, Late Prime Minister Benazir Bhutto, for 4.7 years in the past 50 years, and women make up only a fraction of ministers and parliamentarians.

The Global Gender Gap Report 2023 highlights Southern Asia as the region with the second-lowest gender parity score at 63.4%. However, countries such as Bangladesh, Bhutan, and Sri Lanka have emerged as regional leaders, demonstrating progress in gender equality. Pakistan, Iran, and Afghanistan face greater challenges in this regard.

The report underscores the need for continued efforts to bridge the gender gap and achieve full parity in Southern Asia. At the current rate of progress, it is estimated that it will take 149 years to achieve gender equality in the South Asia region. Among the 146 countries included this year are a set of 102 countries that have been covered in all editions since the inaugural one in 2006. Scores based on this constant set of countries are used to compare regional and global aggregates across time.

The Global Gender Gap Index 2023 underscores the need for continued efforts to achieve gender equality worldwide. Mishal Pakistan, as the country partner institute of the New Economy and Societies Platform of the World Economic Forum, recognizes the significance of comprehensive strategies and collaborative endeavors. By prioritizing economic empowerment, equal access to education and healthcare, and increased political participation, Pakistan aims to foster a society that values and empowers women.

This year’s edition of the Global Gender Gap Report also analyzes new data on labor market outcomes for women, at both the macro-economic and industry levels. The Global Gender Gap Report serves as a vital tool for tracking progress, identifying gaps, and guiding policies aimed at achieving gender equality. Pakistan remains committed to these objectives and will continue working towards creating a more equitable and inclusive society for all.

Increasing women’s economic participation and achieving gender parity in leadership, in both business and government, are two key levers for addressing broader gender gaps in households, societies, and economies. Collective, coordinated, and bold action by private- and public-sector leaders will be instrumental in accelerating progress toward gender parity and igniting renewed growth and greater resilience. Recent years have seen major setbacks, and the state of gender parity still varies widely by company, industry, and economy.

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