Only 5 countries close gender gap in education, health – WEF

Mara Cepeda

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Only 5 countries close gender gap in education, health – WEF
The Philippines reopens its gender gap in health and survival this year, but maintains its gender equality in educational attainment

MANILA, Philippines – Only 5 nations from Eastern Europe and Central Asia have attained gender equality in education and health in this year’s Global Gender Gap report

The findings of the World Economic Forum (WEF), released on Thursday, November 2, showed Czech Republic, Latvia, Lithuania, Slovak Republic, and Slovenia have fully closed the gender gap in terms of educational attainment as well as the health and survival.

The WEF ranked 144 countries’ gender equality scores based on educational attainment, health and survival, economic participation and opportunity, and political empowerment.

Under education, the report measured the gap between women’s and men’s current access to education through the ratio of women to men who have completed the primary, secondary, and tertiary levels. The ratio of female literacy rate to the male literacy rate was factored in as well.

For health and survival, the WEF studied the sex ratio at birth to capture the phenomenon of “missing women” in countries whose families prefer to have sons over daughters. The report also measured the gap between women’s and men’s healthy life expectancy.

Still, a total of 27 out of the 144 countries surveyed have fully closed the gender gap in education, 3 more than last year following the addition of Benin, Guinea, and Chad to the list:

  1. Finland
  2. Slovenia
  3. Ireland 
  4. Philippines
  5. France
  6. Denmark
  7. Canada
  8. Latvia
  9. Barbados
  10. Cuba
  11. Bahamas
  12. Lithuania
  13. Belgium
  14. Netherlands
  15. Australia
  16. Estonia
  17. Israel
  18. Botswana
  19. Jamaica
  20. United States
  21. Luxembourg
  22. Lesotho
  23. Slovak Republic
  24. Czech Republic
  25. Brazil
  26. Malta
  27. Maldives

Under health and survival, however, only 34 countries have closed the gender gap, as compared to last year’s 38: 

  1. Rwanda
  2. Nicaragua
  3. Slovenia
  4. Namibia
  5. South Africa
  6. Latvia
  7. Burundi
  8. Lithuania
  9. Moldova
  10. Argentina
  11. Colombia
  12. Poland
  13. Serbia
  14. Panama
  15. Mongolia
  16. Croatia
  17. Uruguay
  18. Romania
  19. Venezuela
  20. El Salvador
  21. Dominican Republic
  22. Russian Federation
  23. Slovak Republic 
  24. Kenya
  25. Kyrgyz Republic
  26. Czech Republic
  27. Braizil
  28. Cambodia
  29. Swaziland
  30. Sri Lanka
  31. Guatemala
  32. Mauritius
  33. Japan
  34. Syria

One of the countries that lost its gender equality status for health this year is the Philippines, which reopened its gap for the first time since 2006.

The Global Gender Gap report said the Philippines also has a “worsening performance” on the wage equality for similar work category, dropping from 7th last year to 21st this year.

But the country’s educational attainment gender gap remains fully closed. (READ: Do Southeast Asia, PH have gender equality in education?)

Overall, the Philippines remains 10th most gender equal country in the world, despite slipping 3 spots from last year

Countries located in Western Europe dominated the top 10. Iceland was still the top gender-equal country for this cycle after having held the spot in the last 9 years. Norway followed Ireland at second place while Finland came in 3rd.

Rwanda, Sweden, Nicaragua, Slovenia and Ireland completed ranks 4 to 8, respectively. –

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Mara Cepeda

Mara Cepeda specializes in stories about politics and local governance. She covers the Office of the Vice President, the Senate, and the Philippine opposition. She is a 2021 fellow of the Asia Journalism Fellowship and the Reham al-Farra Memorial Journalism Fellowship of the UN. Got tips? Email her at or tweet @maracepeda.