Rwanda heads the regional rankings and is the only country from the sub-Saharan area to be placed among the top ten overall rankings in the World Economic Forum’s Global Gender Gap 2014 Report, published today.
The report ranks 142 countries on their ability to close the gender gap – making sure women are not held back – in four key areas: health and survival, education, politics and economic equality.
The region has improved slightly on its score since last year and three countries – Rwanda, Burundi and South Africa – rank among the top 20 countries globally.
Rwanda (7 out of 142 countries) is the strongest performer in the region, ranking seventh in the global top ten. Its high ranking can be explained by its strong political empowerment performance and good rankings for economic participation and opportunity. These scores are slightly offset by wider gender gaps in health and survival, and education.
Burundi (17) one of only three countries from the region to be ranked among the top 20 overall, being placed 17th. The country performs highest in the region for economic participation of women.
South Africa (18) is the third country in the region to make it into the global top 20, a presence it has maintained since 2006. On health and survival, the country ranks first, having closed 98% of its health gender gap – a strong improvement since 2013.
Mozambique (27) is one of the highest performing countries in the region on estimated earned income, women in parliament and years with a female head of state. But it is amongst the lowest performing countries globally on literacy rate, and enrolment in primary and secondary education.
Malawi (34) is a top performer in the region on primary education, but levels of literacy remain low; however, since 2006, the country is among the best improvers in the region.
Kenya (37) is one of the best climbers in the region in terms of overall score since 2013, with a percentage change of 7%. The country scores well for economic participation, but achieves a lower than average score for educational attainment, mainly due to low tertiary education enrolment of women.
Lesotho (38) has seen a significant drop in its overall score and ranking compared to 2013; despite this, the country has closed its educational attainment gap. The country performs poorly on wage equality for similar work and healthy life expectancy.
Namibia (40) is among countries in the region that closed their educational attainment gap. The country also closed its gender gap in health and survival for the first time and it is one of the highest performers in the region for rate of literacy.
Madagascar (41)has consistently improved its overall score and ranking since 2006, with only two slight falls in 2009 and 2010. The country has closed its gender gap on enrolment in primary and secondary education, but ranks low on literacy rate and enrolment in tertiary education.
Tanzania (47) saw its overall score improve on 2013; this was mainly driven by improvements in scores for economic participation, health and survival and political empowerment indices.