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Gender gap report shows more women in AI

Gender parity will take another 134 years to reach. Underrepresentation of women in sectors with higher paying jobs, including technology and infrastructure, is one of the reasons for the gender pay gap. In 2024, women made up 28.2% of the STEM workforce, but the picture is improving for AI Engineering talent, World Economic Forum says in a report. Although men still outnumber women, over the past four years the share of female AI talent has increased significantly, 

Gender parity in the workforce can be advanced through both formal measures like quotas and policies, as well as through informal factors such as professional networks. The report quotes LinkedIn data suggesting gender gaps in online professional networks lead to men typically having larger networks and stronger networks than women. Stronger networks are associated with increased probability of career progression and receive more recruiter outreach. 

In terms of being future-ready, women lag behind men in online skilling, with Coursera data showing AI and big data (30%), programming (31%) and networks and cybersecurity (31%) lag in achieving gender parity.

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The report says: “These findings underscore the need for targeted interventions to bridge this gap and ensure equitable access to emerging technological competencies, particularly since generative AI is a fast-growing technology with the potential to enable tailored learning experiences fitting the needs of diverse learner populations.”

The global gender gap score in 2024 for all 146 countries included in this edition stands at 68.5% closed. Compared against the constant sample of 143 countries included in last year’s edition, the global gender gap has been closed by a further +.1 percentage point, from 68.5% to 68.6%. When considering the 101 countries covered continuously from 2006 to 2024, the gap has also improved +.1 points and reached 68.6%. 

“The lack of meaningful, widespread change since the last edition effectively slows down the rate of progress to attain parity. Based on current data, it will take 134 years to reach full parity – roughly five generations beyond the 2030 Sustainable Development Goal (SDG) target.”

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Key findings: 

  • The 2024 Global Gender Gap Index shows that while no country has achieved full gender parity, 97% of the economies included in this edition have closed more than 60% of their gap, compared to 85% in 2006. 
  • Iceland (93.5%) is again ranked 1st and has been leading the index for a decade and a half. It also continues to be the only economy to have closed over 90% of its gender gap. 
  • European economies occupy seven spots out of the global top 10. In addition to Iceland, these include Finland (87.5%), Norway (87.5%), Sweden (81.6%), Germany (81%), Ireland (80.2%) and Spain (79.7%). The remaining three spots are (New Zealand (4th, 83.5%), (Nicaragua, (6th, 81.1%), and Namibia (8th, 80.5%). 
  • Health and Survival gender gap has closed by 96%, the Educational Attainment gap by 94.9%, the Economic Participation and Opportunity gap by 60.5%, and the Political Empowerment gap by 22.5%. 
  • In Political Empowerment, parity has jumped a total of 8.3 percentage points to 22.8% over the past 18 editions. In Economic Participation and Opportunity and Educational Attainment, parity has gained 4.8 and 4.2 percentage points respectively. Health and Survival is the only subindex where there has been a moderate decline from 2006 (-0.2 points).
  • With the evolving pace of each individual subindex affecting their respective timelines to parity, results from this year have extended the wait for parity in Educational Attainment to 20 years (+4 years from 2023) and Political Empowerment to 169 years (+7 years from 2023), yet brought forth the timeline for Economic Participation and Opportunity to 152 years (-17 years from 2023). The time to close the Health and Survival gender gap remains undefined.
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