What does 133 really mean?

Equal rights: maybe in 133 years ...

While my mother still needed her husband's permission to work in a profession, I grew up knowing that as a woman I could be anything I want - without anyone's permission. At the time, however, I didn't know that now, in the middle of my life, I wouldn't get the same pay in every job as my male colleagues. But unfortunately it is like that.

The extent of the inequality of treatment between men and women is analyzed every year by the Global Gender Gap Report of the World Economic Forum (WEF), which has been collected since 2006 and includes data from 156 countries. The latest report published highlights the current inequalities. The new result is the old one: women have worse chances than men. This year, for the first time, there is a sad highlight: the corona pandemic has hit women harder than men.

Now I have sons, if I had daughters, I would have to convey to you the sad fact that, like my generation, they too will probably not get as much money for their work as men all over the world. And neither do their daughters. And neither are the daughters of the daughters. Because if equality continues as before, women worldwide can only expect equal treatment in all areas in more than 133 years, according to the report.

Traditional role models worsen women's career opportunities

Politics remains dominated by men

The WEF examines four areas and thus the questions of the extent to which there is equal opportunities in the economy, with regard to the educational path, health and chances of survival as well as political participation. Women who aspire to politics are particularly bad luck. Gender inequality has increased here since the last report. Only 22 percent of the gap has been closed

Specifically, this means that in the 156 countries covered by the index, only one in four of the approximately 35,500 seats in parliament has a woman, and just under 23 percent of the over 3,400 ministers worldwide are women. With Angela Merkel and Ursula von der Leyen, political leaders who are right at the top come to mind, but almost half of the countries (81) have never had a female head of state.

Nevertheless, not all countries should be lumped together. Women have a harder time in politics, especially in large countries like China and India. On the other hand, there are more women in parliament in 98 countries than last year. If things continue as before, it will take more than 145 years for gender parity to prevail in politics around the world.

Double burden and job loss in the economy

The economy looks a little better than politics. However, the corona virus has led to regressions. No childcare, closed schools, home office - who does it all? In many cases, apparently the working mothers. Their stress level has increased due to the double burden, as data from the market research company Ipsos have shown from January 2021. In addition, around five percent of all employed women lost their jobs in the past year, compared with only 3.9 percent of men. This was shown by early projections by the international labor organization ILO.

Working under difficult conditions: Home office and homeschooling often do not go well together

The corona pandemic has also led to a greater degree of automation and digitization. But women are underrepresented, especially in sectors in which disruptive technical knowledge is required. There are only 14 percent women in cloud computing, 20 percent in engineering, and 32 percent in data and artificial intelligence.

Becoming boss in 2020 wasn't easy either. Women were even less likely to fill management positions than in the previous year. This was true across many industries. The exceptions: software and IT services, financial services, health and healthcare, and manufacturing. Overall, less than a third of all global bosses are women.

In short: 58 percent of the gap to equal treatment in the area of ‚Äč‚Äčeconomic participation has been closed. But at the current pace it will take another 257 years - that is, several generations of daughters - until they no longer exist.

Education and health

After all - when it comes to education and health, things are looking pretty good. There is hardly any gender-specific unequal treatment here. In education, the gender gap has closed by over 96 percent worldwide. The good news is that in 30 countries there is no longer any gap. However, the "last mile" of progress is slow. The WEF estimates that, given the current development, it will take almost 13 years to completely close this gap.

Women have almost as much a chance of being healthy and surviving as men. The gender gap in this area has been closed by over 95 percent. Even if global protests against violence against women suggest something else over and over again.

Protests in March 21 in Turkey against President Recep Tayyip Erdogan's withdrawal from the international convention against violence against women. The Istanbul Convention of the Council of Europe is the world's first binding agreement of its kind. The aim is to better protect women from violence by prosecuting perpetrators - be it at home or elsewhere.

53 to 195 years wait for equal treatment

If I were at home in Iceland, I would cause my daughters the least frustration, because the Nordic country is the country with the greatest gender equality in the world for the twelfth time in a row. There were huge improvements in equality in 2020 in Lithuania, Serbia, Timor-Leste, Togo and the United Arab Emirates. Of course, the lower the starting level, the easier it is to achieve such improvements.

If you look at the regions of the world, the greatest advances have been made in Western Europe. Here the gap to equality was closed by 77.5 percent. The situation is similar in North America. The Middle East and North Africa bring up the rear. Here, the gap between men and women could only be closed by 61.5 percent.

For my imaginary daughters that would mean: If things continue as before, the gender differences in Western Europe could be eliminated in just 53 years. That would still not make my daughters' daughters completely equal. In North America, women have to wait almost 62 years for equality. Relatively little if you compare their situation with that in South Asia. It will take 195 years before women are no longer disadvantaged. And at the end of the day, my children can still be happy if they don't have offspring with disabilities, with non-white skin or with a migration background. Because when it comes to acceptance or even the promotion of diversity, things look even worse than when it comes to equality for women. How bad - that was not investigated in this report.

In the adjusted gender pay gap, only wage differences for comparable jobs and qualifications are taken into account, i.e. different pay for the same work. The fact that women in Germany work more than average in professions that are paid less, that they work part-time more often and have less careers - all of this is factored out.