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Gender equality at work more than 200 years off: WEF report

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GENEVA : Women may be shouting louder than ever for equal treatment and pay, but a report out yesterday indicates it will take centuries to achieve gender parity in workplaces around the globe.

The World Economic Forum (WEF) report said there had been some improvements in wage equality this year compared to last year, when the global gender gap widened for the first time in a decade.

But it warned that these were offset by declining representation of women in politics, coupled with greater inequality in their access to health and education.

At current rates, the global gender gap across a range of areas will not close for another 108 years, while it is expected to take 202 years to close the workplace gap, the WEF found.

The Geneva-based organisation's annual report tracked disparities between the sexes in 149 countries across four areas: education, health, economic opportunity and political empowerment.

After years of advances in education, health and political representation, women registered setbacks in all three areas this year, the WEF said.

Only in the area of economic opportunity did the gender gap narrow somewhat, although there is not much to celebrate, with the global wage gap narrowing to nearly 51 per cent.

And the number of women in leadership roles has risen to 34 per cent globally, the WEF said.

But at the same time, the report showed that there are now proportionately fewer women than men participating in the workforce, suggesting that automation is having a disproportionate impact on jobs traditionally performed by women. - AFP

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