It’s the seventh year the Women at Work Index has been compiled by PwC. This assessment of female economic empowerment works to measure equality by scoring these variables: gap between female and male earnings, female labor force participation rate, gap between female and male labor force and participation rates, female unemployment rate and share of female employees in full-time employment. It assesses the 33 countries that belong to the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD).
Here’s the current state on what gender equality in the workplace looks like (or gender inequality, depending on how you look at it).
Anecdotally, you hear about there being more women in the workforce and that pay gaps are closing for women at work. Here’s what the Women at Work Index found:
- Iceland, Sweden and New Zealand are top three performing OECD countries on the Women at Work Index.
- Luxembourg has made the most significant rise in the ranks, from 23rd in 2000 to 6th in 2017. Poland, Belgium, Ireland and UK round out the top five biggest movers on the Women at Work Index.
- Over the long term, Luxembourg has made the most significant improvements to the pay gap, closing it by 11 percentage points (from 2000 to 2017).
- Of the 33 OECD countries in the analysis, 20 have narrowed the pay gap since 2016 and 25 have made improvements since 2000.
- U.S., Austria and Portugal have experienced the greatest falls in the Women at Work Index rankings from 2000 to 2017.
- Increasing the number of women in work across the OECD to match Sweden’s (a consistent top-performer, with a female employment rate of 69%), would mean a GDP gain of $6 trillion.
- Closing the gender pay gap between men and women across the OECD would mean an additional $2 trillion in GDP gain, which is an increase of 22%.
- Chile and Spain have seen the largest improvements in female labor participation rates since 2000, with an increase in 18 and 17 percentage points respectively.
- While the average female labor force participation rate remained unchanged from 2016 to 2017, Slovenia, Ireland and Estonia saw the largest short-term gains.
- Since 2000, the gap between the male and female labor force participation rates has fallen from 17% to 11% on average. Every country has narrowed the gap, except Poland.
- Poland has seen the most significant improvement in female unemployment from 18% in 2000 to 5% in 2017.
- Female unemployment in Greece has increased to 26%, which is the highest female unemployment rate of all OECD countries.
- Mexico experiences the largest gap between male and female labor force participation rates, at 35%. But this has narrowed 9 percentage points since 2000.
How To Turn Policies Into Effective Action
The Women at Work Index recommends putting these five strategies into place to improve gender inequality in the workplace.
- Align diversity with your business strategy. Be sure it reaches beyond employees to customers, suppliers, investors and the greater society.
- Use data to decide what to focus on and measure progress. Think workforce surveys, tracking career paths and exit surveys.
- Drive accountability from the top. Someone on the executive leadership team must support and sponsor diversity and inclusion initiatives for them to be taken seriously companywide.
- Be honest about your shortcomings and celebrate achievements. Progress shows you’re committed to the cause.
- Set realistic goals, make a plan to achieve them and hold parties accountable for reaching specific objectives and contributing to progress.