Yemen comes last in Global Gender Gap report for the third year in a row [Archives:2008/1215/Front Page]

December 11 2008

Ebrahim Al-Wadee and Yemen Times Staff
SANA'A, Dec. 6 ) For the third consecutive year, Yemen ranks last in the Global Gender Gap Report 2008 published by the World Economic Forum with a slight improvement in its score compared to last year.

The Global Gender Gap Index scores can be interpreted as the percentage of the gap between women and men that has been closed. This year Yemen scored 0.466 compared to 0.45 in 2007. Each country is judged based on four categories: Economic participation and opportunity – outcomes on salaries, participation levels and access to high-skilled employment; Educational attainment – outcomes on access to basic and higher-level education; Political empowerment – outcomes on representation in decision-making structures; and Health and survival – outcomes on life expectancy and sex ratio.

Yemen having a score less than 0.5 means that in these four categories together Yemeni women nearly have half the rights Yemeni men do.

However, the individual scores of each of the four categories vary. According to the report when it comes to health and survival, Yemeni women are almost as equal to men with a score of 0.98 while educational attainment comes second at 0.62, then comes economic participation at 0.25 and finally political empowerment which is 0.016.

Despite the slight progress from last year which was mainly in the health and survival category and education, the economic and political empowerment have dragged Yemen again to the bottom of the list of 130 countries world wide. The calculations include factors such as literacy rate, employment, healthy life expectancy, number of women in leading decision making positions.

Yemeni government's report

The Yemeni government had preceded the WEF's report by a local report which allegedly said that women participation has improved in the political, economic and social fields during the last few years.

Released by the Ministry of Planning and International Cooperation, the third local report, which included statistics of the year 2008, said that women achieved progress in terms of decision making inside four political parties, General people's Congress, Islah, Socialist and Nasserite parties. It indicated that women assumed leading positions in these parties.

“Around 70 Yemeni women were able during 2006 to hold leading diplomatic positions in the Ministry of Foreign Affairs