The US ranks below average on women’s equality in the workplace, The Economist found

business woman looking at phone in office
  • The US ranked 18th out of 29 countries in an assessment of the best and worst countries for working women.
  • Women in the US have less parental leave and political representation than other countries.
  • The pandemic has had a significant impact on female representation in the workforce.
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The US ranked 18th out of 29 countries in a yearly analysis by The Economist on the best and worst countries for working women.

The US lagged behind many other countries when it came to parental leave and political representation for women, according to the report. 

During the pandemic, US women have been disproportionately impacted by the economic downturn.

US women have lost 5.3 million jobs since the pandemic started. In 2020, a report from the International Labour Organization found women had seen the greatest employment losses during the pandemic, as remote school work and work-from-home put extra pressure on women who often had to give up job opportunities to take care of their families.

The Economist’s Glass Ceiling Index is a yearly assessment of countries where women have the best and worst chances of equal treatment in the workplace. The report analyzes a group of affluent countries that make up the Organization for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD).

The analysis takes into account several indicators: higher education, labor-force participation, pay, child-care costs, maternity and paternity rights, business-school applications and representation in senior jobs.

The report found that over the past year the US has seen some improvement in female representation in management positions, moving the country up four spots from the previous year. 

In September, Citigroup named Wall Street’s first female CEO, Jane Fraser. Several other women, including Rosalind Brewer, who became the first black woman ever to run a Fortune 500 company, and Carol Tomé, who was named CEO of the UPS, also increased representation for women in the C-suite.

Across the OECD, women account for about than one-third of leadership roles, according to The Economist. The analysis also found progress to the top of companies is slow for women in most OECD countries.

The report ranked Scandinavia as the top country for working women, while South Korea and Japan ranked last.

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