Photo: Ellie Foreman-Peck/TNH

Afghanistan ranks lowest in Global Gender Gap index

According to the recently published Global Gender Gap Report 2023 by the World Economic Forum (WEF), Afghanistan has once again ranked at the bottom among 146 countries.

The report assesses the current state and progress of gender equality, evaluating indicators related to participation and economic opportunities, educational advancement, health, and political empowerment.

According to the report, the top nine countries that have closed at least 80% of their gender gap include Iceland, Norway, Finland, New Zealand, Sweden, Germany, Nicaragua, Namibia, and Lithuania. Conversely, Pakistan, Iran, Algeria, Chad, and Afghanistan are positioned at the bottom of the global ranking.

The report highlights that Southern Asia achieved a gender parity score of 63.4%, the second-lowest among the eight regions. Since 2006, gender equality in South Asian countries has increased by 1.1%, partly attributed to the improved scores of populous nations like India, Pakistan, and Bangladesh.

Bangladesh, Bhutan, and Sri Lanka are reportedly the best-performing countries in the region, while Pakistan, Iran, and Afghanistan are at the bottom of both the regional and global ranking tables. The World Economic Forum warns that at the current pace, it would take 149 years to achieve full gender parity in the South Asian region.

The Global Gender Gap Report has been published annually since 2006, providing an assessment of countries’ progress in achieving gender equality. In 2021 and 2022, Afghanistan ranked at the bottom of the index, earning the reputation as the world’s worst country in terms of gender equality.

In 2023, Afghanistan’s gender equality score remains low at 40.5%, solidifying its place at the bottom end of the distribution. The WEF report reveals that Afghanistan exhibits the lowest performance across all sub-indexes, with the exception of the Health and Survival sub-indexes, where it ranks 141st, placing it below the bottom 5th percentile.

Since assuming control of the country in August 2021, the Taliban has issued numerous orders and decrees that have curtailed women’s rights and freedoms, eliminating gender equality within society.