At current rates of progress it may take another 217 years to close the economic gender gap globally. Although many countries are ideally poised to maximize women’s economic potential, they are currently failing to reap the returns from their investment in female education. In addition, too few countries are preparing to meet the challenges and harness the gender parity opportunities posed by the changing nature of work. The Forum takes a future-facing perspective on gender parity, addressing the various factors that contribute to economic gender gaps and leading a multi-stakeholder coalition to accelerate progress at global and national levels.
The Closing the Gender Gap Project aims to create global and national collaboration platforms to address current gender gaps and reshape gender parity for the future by working at three levels:
1. Global exchange platform
The Forum leads the Global Alliance for Closing the Gender Gap, which is an informal community that shapes dialogue, action and best practice exchange on gender parity. The Alliance convenes the most relevant leaders and organizations for global exchange on how the economic gender parity agenda can be taken forward practically at the global and national level, catalyzing new collaboration and impact. The group comprises the Steering Committee on Gender Parity, leaders of pioneering countries and companies, co-chairs of country-level task forces, and experts. The Alliance held its first meeting at the Forum’s Sustainable Development Impact Summit in 2017, and work is currently under way to develop a framework of country-level change, including a list of preferred partners and best practices.
2. Business commitments
The project calls for quantifiable commitments from leading companies to increase workforce opportunities and accelerate gender parity in the future of work. The Forum will guide companies to design and align their interventions through a “menu” of business actions and these commitments will be broadly disseminated through the Forum network to magnify their impact. The project also compiles cutting-edge knowledge, insights and tools to inform commitments and assist companies in measuring, tracking and narrowing gender gaps, such as Accelerating Gender Parity: A Toolkit.
3. Country implementation
The Forum oversees national task forces, which have been successful in addressing current gender gaps and reshaping gender parity for the future in nine countries. Focus is given to closing gaps in participation, remuneration and leadership, and preparing companies and countries for gender parity in the future of work. A number of the Forum’s insight products are used as guides for country-level issue identification, such as the annual Global Gender Gap Report and the Industry Gender Gap Report. Task forces have been established in Chile, Argentina, Panama, Peru and France, with those in Latin America implemented in partnership with the Inter-American Development Bank, following successful pilots in Japan, Mexico, the Republic of Korea and Turkey (see Closing the Economic Gender Gap: Learning from the Gender Parity Task Forces). The Forum is discussing the expansion of these efforts with various countries and institutions, and is seeking partners interested in collaborating to establish national task forces.