The Corona pandemic puts back years of efforts made to achieve equality between men and women, according to a report by the World Economic Forum, published Wednesday.
The Geneva-based organization’s annual report monitors gender disparity in 156 countries in four domains: education, health, economic opportunities and political empowerment.
According to the report, the largest gender gap, about 40 percent, is found in the countries of the Middle East and North Africa, which are witnessing slow progress in terms of equality. It will take 142 years to bridge this gap.
Iceland and Finland topped the Global Equality Index, according to the report, followed by Norway and New Zealand.
The report indicated that several countries have witnessed remarkable progress in the field, including the United Arab Emirates, Togo, and Serbia.
While several Arabs came in the last ranks, along with Turkey, Iran, and a number of African countries.
“Another generation of women will have to wait for the achievement of gender equality,” due to the repercussions of the epidemic, the forum said.
A group of studies showed that the Covid-19 pandemic affected more women, who lost jobs at a higher rate compared to men, and bore a greater burden in terms of caring for children when schools were closed, according to AFP.
The repercussions will be long-term according to the expectations of the World Economic Forum, which warned in its report on the gender gap in the world that the achievement of the goals set for gender equality would be delayed.
The organization that usually brings together global elites at the famous ski resort in Davos, Switzerland annually, concluded in its previous report, which was published in December 2019, just before the start of the pandemic, that achieving gender equality in several fields will take 99.5 years.
“We have witnessed a kind of retreat towards traditional behaviors inside the home, which is reflected in a dual way on working women,” said Forum director Saadia Zahidi, in a press conference via the Internet.
While the report indicates that women succeed in closing the gap within the education and health sectors, this does not apply to the work sector.
According to the report, the world will need 267.6 years to completely erase discrimination in the work sector, especially with the decline caused by the outbreak of the Corona epidemic.
The report referred to studies conducted by the United Nations, which showed that women lost more jobs during the epidemic, partly affected by their being underrepresented in sectors that have been severely affected by the total closure around the world.
A study by the Ipsos Foundation included in the report indicated that housework and the responsibility to take care of children increased significantly over women during the closure.
According to the foundation, women are working the equivalent of a full-time job to take care of children at home, which made the pressure on them during the pandemic greater than the pressure on men.
According to the LinkedIn data used in the forum’s report as well, the re-employment of women in all work sectors is returning at a slower pace, with a decline in their appointment to leadership positions.