By Annette Chrysostomou
WHEN it comes to gender equality, Cyprus is at the bottom of all EU countries bar one, with only Malta ranked lower, a new report reveals.
This year’s World Economic Forum annual report focuses on all aspects of the gender gap in 145 countries, covering economics, education, health and political empowerment. Based on scores for dozens of those indicators, Iceland comes out top, followed by Norway, Finland, Sweden, Ireland and Rwanda.
Cyprus is ranked 100 globally on this scale and was the second lowest ranked of all EU countries, just behind Hungary, which is in 99th place and doing slightly better than Malta, which was at 104.
Among the countries measured, Cyprus came out as average regarding health and education, but reaches only 60 per cent of the average in economic equality. It fares even worse in political equality with 20 per cent.
Compared to 2006, when the first WEF report was published, the results for Cyprus overall regarding education, health, economics and politics have remained nearly the same, showing little improvement.
The existing gender gap does not stem from an unequal participation in higher education. Both women and men participate equally in primary, secondary and tertiary education, with the ratio of PhD graduates being 50:50.
However, that does not necessarily translate into professional equality. On a scale from zero to one, where zero is total inequality and one stands for equality, Cyprus scores very low, 0.21 on opportunities and participation in high-skilled jobs such as managers, legislators and senior official. This has not changed from 2006.
The report also lists the wage equality for similar work. Cyprus has changed slightly for the better since 2006, when the score was 0.54, whereas it is 0.59 this year. Yet, Cyprus is ranked low compared to other countries. It is number 99 this year.
There is a considerable gap in estimated earned income, where women now earn €22,661 per year and men €34,926 on average. The situation has improved from 2006, where the equality score was 0.47; and it has now climbed to 0.65. Yet, nowadays, women in Cyprus still earn €1,000 less annually than men did ten years ago.
The biggest gap is in political empowerment. Here Cyprus is currently ranked number 124 of the 145 countries. Just 10 per cent of women are ministers, and they make up 14 per cent of the members of parliament. Cyprus currently has only one female minister from a cabinet of 11 ministers, and seven women deputies in a parliament of 56.