Malta has made some progress in narrowing attainment gaps between men and women but remains the EU's second-worst performer in terms of gender equality, the 2017 Global Gender Gap Report shows. 

The report, published by the World Economic Forum, measures gaps between genders within countries without focusing on levels of development. Countries' rankings are therefore dependent primarily on the scores of other countries, rather than a country's individual progress over time. 

Malta's scores on all four of the sub-indices measured by the report - economic participation and opportunity; educational attainment; health and survival; and political empowerment - rose when compared to 2016. 

Progress was especially noteworthy in terms of education attainment, with Malta having fully closed the gap and achieved gender equality in this regard. 

Overall, Malta scored 0.682. This essentially means there remains a 32 per cent gap to achieving gender parity. 

The country's ranking of 93 out of 144 countries also compares favourably with last year's 108. 

EU laggard

But all other European Union countries bar one managed to ensure a greater measure of overall equality between genders, with Malta lagging behind 26 of the Union's 28 member states in relative terms. Only Hungary, at 103rd, does worse. 

Malta's greatest gender parity failings are in terms of economic participation and opportunity, with an index score of 0.610. A score of 1, which Malta achieves in educational attainment terms, indicates full equality. 

This tallies with EU data which consistently shows that despite significant progress in recent years, Malta continues to have the EU's widest gender employment gap

The country ranks a lowly 103rd in terms of health and survival, though its index score of 0.971 suggests equality is within reach. 

In terms of political empowerment, however, Malta's 85th place ranking masks a miserable 0.146 score which suggests massive disparities between genders. 

Just 10 out of Malta's 69 MPs are women, with both major parties having acknowledged the country's failings in ensuring a greater measure of gender parity in parliament. 

In a statement, the National Commission for the Promotion of Equality said that the results "point to both progress and challenges" but expressed optimism about future progress. 

Economic and political gaps were being acknowledged at government level, the NCPE said, noting the "positive impact of initiatives undertaken in the last years." 

Global failings

Malta's twin gender parity failings on economic and political scales tallies with the global average, the report indicates. 

On average, the 144 countries included in the report have closed 96 per cent of the gap in health outcomes and 95 per cent in education. 

Economically, however, only 58 per cent of the economic participation gap has been closed worldwide and a meagre 23 per cent of the political gap has been slammed shut. 

In Western Europe, the overall gender parity gap sits at around 25 per cent. 

Unsurprisingly, Scandinavian countries lead the pack, though east and central Asia, the Pacific, sub-Saharan Africa, Latin America and eastern Europe all have representatives flying the gender equality flag in the top 10. 

Disappointingly, the overall gender gap among countries measured has widened slightly over the past 12 months.

While one year ago, report writers estimated that it would take 83 years for the world to offer women and men equality of opportunity across the four sectors measured, they now reckon that at the current rate of progress, achieving equality will take exactly 100 years. 

The 10 top performers (overall score):  

1. Iceland (0.878)

2. Norway (0.830)

3. Finland (0.823) 

4. Rwanda (0.822)

5. Sweden (0.816) 

6. Nicaragua (0.814) 

7. Slovenia (0.805) 

8. Ireland (0.794) 

9. New Zealand (0.791) 

10. Philippines (0.790) 


The 10 worst performers (overall score): 

1. Jordan (0.604) 

2. Morocco (0.598) 

3. Lebanon (0.596) 

4. Saudi Arabia (0.584) 

5. Mali (0.583) 

6. Iran (0.583) 

7. Chad (0.575) 

8. Syria (0.568) 

9. Pakistan (0.546) 

10. Yemen (0.516) 

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