In France women cannot transport loads that exceed 25 kilograms. In Russia they are prohibited from installing antennas in high places, driving agricultural trucks and woodworking. In Argentina, women cannot sell distilled beverages.
Where are we going? To how gender barriers harm everyone.
Gender Gap Indicators
First let’s look at the big picture. Through a World Economic Forum heat map, you can see Iceland, shaded in darkest blue, is #1 for the smallest gender gap. Close behind, at #’s 2, 3, and 4 are (respectively) Norway, Finland, and Sweden. At the other end, we have Syria ranked #143, Pakistan at #144, and Yemen, #145.
In eight infographics (or 144 if you look at the World Economic Forum’s Global Gender Gap Report 2015), you can compare the gender gap in four categories. Using the economy, education, politics and health as indicators, they use the blue shading to show that Iceland far exceeds the world’s gender equality average in the black outline.
The U.S., the U.K., Australia and France are far more similar in gender equality.
Our Bottom Line: Human Capital
Were we to look specifically at what gender equality is really about, in certain countries, we would see married women having fewer freedoms than their husbands. We would find women who could not own property nor open bank accounts. Some are prohibited from traveling freely and signing contracts. Detailed in the World Bank and World Economic Forum reports, the lists of constraints vary from country to country.
Shared though is how they limit productivity by restricting their human capital potential.The source of innovation, of productivity, of goods and services, human capital represents what people contribute to all that we produce. When we improve human capital through more education, better health care and evenhanded treatment, we increase our potential productivity.
More from one woman means more for all people.