Closing the global gender gap will take an extra 36 years due to the impact of the pandemic, the World Economic Forum said

Hundreds of women gather in Russell Square for the Women's Strike Assembly on International Women's Day on 8th March 2018 in London, England, United Kingdom.
Hundreds of women gather in Russell Square for the Women’s Strike Assembly on International Women’s Day on 8th March 2018 in London, England, United Kingdom.

  • Closing the gender pay gap will take an extra 36 years, the World Economic Forum said Tuesday.
  • The prediction has climbed from 100 years to 136 years because of the impact of the pandemic.
  • 5% of all employed women lost their jobs during the pandemic, compared with 3.9% of employed men.
  • See more stories on Insider’s business page.

Achieving global gender parity will take an extra 36 years because of the coronavirus pandemic, a World Economic Forum (WEF) report said.

Previously, the WEF estimated that the gender pay gap could take around 100 years to close. It’s now increased its prediction to nearly 136 years.

“Preliminary evidence suggests that the health emergency and the related economic downturn have impacted women more severely than men, partially re-opening gaps that had already been closed,” the report said.

The WEF calculated worldwide gender parity through economic participation and opportunity, political empowerment, health and education across 156 countries.

It will take around 146 years to attain gender equality in politics, and 268 years for men and women to get the same salary for similar work, the report said. It added that the data doesn’t yet fully reflect the impact of the pandemic, which could extend the gaps further.

Gender parity has improved in the education sector, taking another 14 years to completely close, and the gap in health between men and women will take a similar amount of time.

The WEF report cited the International Labour Organization (ILO) that said 5% of all employed women lost their jobs during the pandemic, compared with 3.9% of employed men. There was also a decline in hiring women into senior positions, according to LinkedIn data.

“There is a persistent lack of women in leadership positions, with women representing only 27% of all manager positions,” the report said.

Sectors such as cloud computing, engineering, data and AI are more likely to have gender gaps as the uptake of women for these kinds of jobs is fairly low, the WEF added.

Read more: Here’s how to find out if you’re underpaid at work, and the exact script to use when asking your boss for a salary increase

WEF managing director Saadia Zahidi wrote in the report: “The hardest-hit sectors by lockdowns and rapid digitalization are those where women are more frequently employed.”

“Combined with the additional pressures of providing care in the home, the crisis has halted progress toward gender parity in several economies and industries,” she said.

Zahidi added that she hoped the report would be a “call to action” for countries to focus on gender equality in the post-pandemic recovery.

According to data from the Bureau of Labor Statistics, average weekly earnings for men who were older than 16 and working full-time was $408 compared to $251 for women – that’s 61.5% of a man’s weekly earnings. This has increased to 81.7% in the third quarter of 2020.

Insider reported in March that the gender wage gap in the US varies widely by state, city and race, with Black and Hispanic women facing the largest pay gap in comparison to non-Hispanic white men’s earnings.

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