How to Close the Gender Inequality Gap

Across the globe, gender inequality is holding back billions of people. Gender equality must be a key focus of policy agendas and budgets – but this takes political leadership, investment and comprehensive policy reforms to dismantle the barriers that prevent us from achieving it.

The first step is understanding that gender equality is more than just a matter of fair pay – it’s about creating an environment where women and men can live their lives to the fullest, free from discrimination and oppression. We can achieve this by supporting policies that foster workplace environments where employees feel safe to express their true selves, are treated fairly and with respect, and have access to opportunities for growth and advancement. Leaders can make this happen by adopting a clear, action-oriented gender equality strategy that includes transparent salary practices, flexible work options, training opportunities for employees, and a focus on well-being and mental health. Employees can support gender equality in their workplace by becoming allies, calling out discriminatory language or behavior, and giving honest feedback to leaders on what’s working and what isn’t.

Globally, women are still disproportionately affected by economic inequalities based on their gender. They earn less money than men, are more likely to be in lower-paying jobs, and are more frequently employed in industries that have lower productivity rates. In addition, in many countries women are disproportionately affected by poverty and lack of opportunity to participate in the labour market.

Women and girls are also at higher risk of unintended pregnancy, sexually transmitted infections, including HIV, malnutrition and harmful practices such as female genital mutilation, child marriage and domestic violence. These factors have a direct impact on their quality of life, and can negatively impact their physical and emotional well-being.

While the global gender gap continues to widen, there are some encouraging signs, such as an increasing number of girls accessing education and entrepreneurship. In the future, these trends must continue so that girls can overcome the limiting beliefs and prejudices that hold them back, and become powerful change-makers in their communities and across the world.

The global economy would see a $7 trillion boost if the gender gap were closed, according to Moody’s Analytics. This is why we must keep fighting to make sure that gender equality is a priority in all aspects of life, everywhere.

This visualization shows a breakdown of countries by how far they are from closing the gender gap. The color of each country represents the country’s ranking on the Global Gender Inequality Index (GII), a new composite indicator that measures inequalities in three dimensions: economic status (based on average income per capita); reproductive freedom and empowerment (measured by maternal mortality ratio and adolescent birth rates); and economic participation and attainment (measured by labor force participation rate, share of women in parliamentary seats, and proportion of women in upper-level professional occupations). Click to zoom.