Wednesday, 12 March 2008

Gender gaps

Mind the gap sign on platform

Photo by Flickr user CraigOppy. Creative Commons licence.

An article published for International Women's Day discussed the ten worst and best countries for women, using the United Nations Human Development Reports as sources.

One of the huge number of different indices is the gap between female and male literacy.

  • Mali - 49% (52%)
  • Benin - 49% (56%)
  • Yemen - 47% (65%)
  • Mozambique - 46% (61%)
  • Ethiopia - 46% (62%)
  • Guinea - 42% (57%)
  • Niger - 35% (44%)
  • Chad - 31% (42%)

These figures give the adult female literacy rate compared to male, with the youth rate in brackets. Although they are improving, there is a very long way to go.

The literacy rate is of course tied to potential for earning. The article then went on to compare, rather selectively, the income gap between female and male as a percentage, the following all being countries where women on average earn less than half as much as men.

  • Benin 48 %
  • Bangladesh 46 %
  • Sierra Leone 45 %
  • Equatorial Guinea 43 %
  • Togo 43 %
  • Eritrea 39 %
  • Cape Verde 36%
  • Yemen 30%

Looking at some of the rest of the countries in the UN report is even more interesting:

  • Kenya 83%
  • Mozambique 81%
  • Sweden 81%
  • Malawi 73%
  • Norway 77%
  • Mali 68%
  • UK 66%
  • United States 63%
  • Italy 47%

I found that really startling but I suppose if you are near or below the poverty line, earning a greater percentage of men's earnings doesn't really amount to much. In other words it's probably easier to give equal pay in a country where pay is minimal.


  1. The equal pay act (UK) is finally being implemented by Councils, causing some unforseen consquences (see Birmingham). All those on the same band get the same pro rata pay, which means nice increases for dinner ladies etc, but also pay cuts of up to 6k p.a. for others, who of course include women.

  2. I didn't know all that.

  3. interesting information, a.

    this made me thank God for my blessings and for my status as a woman in my country. i feel sad that there are situations and conditions that place women as inferior.

  4. They're surely not able to cut people's pay by 6k are they j? Unbelievable!
    No I didn't know that before I looked it up Nicole.
    Thanks bingskee, some women live in conditions we can hardly imagine.

  5. Once again, thank you for bringing the world some serious facts.
    I do believe you have many more readers than commentors to a post like this.
    What I think, when Africa, becomes politically stabilized, we will see a boom never in history before seen.
    Africa has all the potential, but been dived by Europeens until, in history line, recently.

    ps. kill me, love me or neglect me;))


Forethoughts, afterthoughts, any thoughts. Tell me.


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