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Report: Bahamas second for equal gender economic participation and opportunity

The Bahamas is ranked second in the World Economic Forum’s Global Gender Gap Report 2021 for economic participation and opportunity between men and women.

The Global Gender Gap index benchmarks 156 countries, analyzing whether gender parities exist in an effort to call government and civic leaders to action to close such gaps over time.

There were four key categories of focus: economic participation and opportunity, educational attainment, health and survival and political empowerment.

Overall, The Bahamas ranked 58 out of 156 nations.

“The economies that, to date, have the smallest economic participation and opportunity gaps include Lao PDR (91.5 percent), The Bahamas (85.7 percent) Burundi (85.5 percent) Iceland (84.6 percent), Latvia (82.2 percent), Moldova (81.1 percent) and Sweden (81 percent),” the report notes.

It continued, “Once again, one of the most important sources of inequality between men and women is women’s underrepresentation in the labor market. Participating in labor markets has been an important channel for economic empowerment of women and for building diverse, inclusive and innovative organizations.”

But, although the country showed high results in the area of economic participation and opportunity – even ranking the highest in the Latin America and Caribbean region – The Bahamas is ranked in the bottom two economies with regard to political empowerment, ranking 146 overall.

“Although the region has closed on average 26.9 percent of this gap (the fourth-best result), significant divides persist in the region. Two economies, Nicaragua (fifth) and Costa Rica (eighth), rank in the sub-index top 10 globally, with scores of 60.6 percent and 54.5 percent, 

respectively. Yet the region is also the home of two of the bottom 20 economies in terms of political empowerment. The Bahamas (146th) has only closed 6.4 percent of its gap and Belize (140th) 7.5 percent,” the report states.

“These differences are better understood when looking at the presence of women among parliamentarians and ministers. In six economies— Argentina, Bolivia, Costa Rica, Cuba, Mexico and Nicaragua – at least 40 percent of lower house seats are occupied by women, while in Belize, The Bahamas, Paraguay and Brazil, 15 percent or less of the lower house seats are held by women. When it comes to ministerial positions, five economies (Costa Rica, El Salvador, Mexico, Nicaragua and Peru) have at least 40 percent of these positions held by women, while in Guatemala, Belize, Brazil and The Bahamas, women are underrepresented, with a share of 13.3 percent or less.”

The Bahamas also received the top ranking in the health and survival category, beating out even the United States, which was ranked 87th for the disparity in the treatment and survival rates between genders.

This is the 15th annual report on gender gaps by the World Economic Forum.

The Bahamas was analyzed for the first time last year and moved up three ranks this year compared to then.

Generally, the COVID-19 pandemic was found to have accelerated and amplified pre-existing barriers to inclusivity in economies and societies around the world, the World Economic Forum stated.

The Global Gender Gap Index measures scores on a 0 to 100 scale and scores can be interpreted as the distance to parity.

“The Global Gender Gap Report continues to encourage public-private dialogues and cross-economy comparisons as tools to guide stakeholders in closing gender gaps,” the report states.

“By providing a continuous assessment of the drivers of gender disparities, the report supports the case for closing gender gaps and to encourage further research on policies and practices that are effective at promoting change.”

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Paige McCartney

Paige joined The Nassau Guardian in 2010 as a television news reporter and anchor. She has covered countless political and social events that have impacted the lives of Bahamians and changed the trajectory of The Bahamas. Paige started working as a business reporter in August 2016. Education: Palm Beach Atlantic University in 2006 with a BA in Radio and Television News

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