Krakow, Poland – To mark International Women’s Day 2019, consulting firm PwC released its annual Women in Work Index, analyzing the representation and welfare of women in the workplace in 33 OECD countries around the world.
Although “the OECD continue to make gradual progress to improve female economic empowerment, there is still a long way to go to achieve a gender-equal workplace”, according to the report. The ranking was compiled based on objective and measurable data (gender wage gap, gender employment gap, female unemployment rate, etc.), and doesn’t take into account people’s personal perceptions of the issue.
Iceland is once again crowned as the best country in the world for women to work, followed by another Nordic country, Sweden, and New Zealand at the third place. Slovenia comes next at the fourth place, overtaking Norway (which dropped from 3rd to 5th position), Luxembourg (6th) and Denmark (7th).
Out of the top 20 countries, 17 of them are located in Europe, with the exception of New Zealand, Canada and Australia.
The U.K. rose by one place to the 13th position, Germany trails at the 18th place ahead of the likes of France (22nd) and Japan (27th). The biggest drops over the last two decades were recorded in the United States (falling from the 9th to 23rd position), Austria (now 25th) and Portugal (16th).
Poland has made substantial improvements over the years and recorded the second highest increase in overall performance since 2000 after Luxembourg, which moved up 17 places in nearly twenty years: it’s now ranked 8th best place for female workers in the world, gaining one spot compared to last year (and moving up 11 spots compared to 2000).
Although Poland reports the second lowest gender wage gap after Luxembourg, the country still has a lot of room for improvement to increase its female labour force participation rate, which remains well below the OECD average of 69%.
Other Central European countries lag further behind: the Czech Republic and Slovakia rank respectively at the 24th and 26th spot. Even though Hungary experienced one of the most significant drops in the ranking compared to last year, the country remains at a highly respectable 14th place in the overall ranking.
Contrary to many of their counterparts in neighboring European countries, women in Central Europe have a very small tendency to turn to part-time employment: Hungary, Slovakia, the Czech Republic and Poland all have a female full-time employment rate above 90%, the highest among OECD countries.
According to PwC, fully closing the gender wage gap across these 33 developed economies “could increase total female earnings by 2 trillion dollars”.