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Living costs spike, pandemic hit womens’ wallets more than mens’

Women are suffering disproportionately as living costs increase – the World Economic Report makes recommendations for how to close the economic gender gap.

living costs rise

The World Economic Forum (WEF) has released their Global Gender Gap Report 2022, providing a glimpse into the global gender gap in light of rising living costs. The findings aren’t particularly encouraging for women.

In 2022, the global economic gender gap has only closed by 68.1%. According to the WEF, it will take 132 years before gender parity is reached.

Considering that the Equal Pay Act was introduced in 1963 in the United States, and the pay gap is still at 83% in the US, we have a long way to go.

Global Gender Gap findings:

Women’s jobs were 1.8 times more vulnerable than men’s jobs during the pandemic.

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“Women’s jobs were 1.8 times more vulnerable than men’s jobs during the pandemic.”

Women were stressed economically when the travel and tourism and retail sectors closed, because of their high levels of employment in these sectors.

The healthcare and education sectors, essential roles during the pandemic, saw an increase in demand, further placing more burdens on women, who were also needed to care for children and elderly relatives.

This created a greater mental and physical stress, making it even more difficult to choose between personal or professional development. It’s a vicious cycle.

Where is the gender gap closing?

Iceland, Finland, and Norway earned the top spots for gender parity. The United States didn’t make the top 10. Iceland’s gender gap closed to 90.8% in 2022. Finland is at 86%, and Norway at 84.5%.

But North America is the most advanced region when it comes to closing the gender gap, due to the US and Canada. According to the report, the score for the region is 76.9%, which reduces the number of years it will take to close the gap to 59 years.

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South Asia ranks the lowest at 62.3%, which means they’re looking at almost 200 years before the gap is closed.

How can we close the gap as living costs rise?

The WEF makes five suggestions:

  • Impacted industries must be revalued by businesses and governments to include adequate pay for healthcare, education, and other essential workers.
  • Care infrastructure investment must not only focus on physical buildings and infrastructure, but also human capital.
  • Women need access to financial services, internet and expanded legal protections around the world.
  • We need to close the gender gap in leadership positions, especially in industries where men still exclusively hold the traditional roles.
  • Women need to be encouraged to study STEM to make sure technology represents everyone.

We aren’t going to close the gender gap anytime soon. But we can grow our way there when we all push for change.

Jimmy Carter said, “Gender equality is the goal that will help abolish poverty that will create more equal economies, fairer societies, and happier men, women, and children.”

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Dawn Brotherton is a Sr. Staff Writer at The American Genius with an MFA in Creative Writing from the University of Central Oklahoma. She is an experienced business writer with over 10 years of experience in SEO and content creation. Since 2017, she has earned $60K+ in grant writing for a local community center, which assists disadvantaged adults in the area.

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