US, UK behind on women’s equality in workplace

LONDON • The US and UK have a lot of catching up to do when in comes to treating women in work well.

The two economies ranked 23rd and 13th respectively in PricewaterhouseCoopers’ (PwC) annual ranking of representation and welfare of women in the workplace across 33 Organisation for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD) countries.

Iceland, Sweden and New Zealand took the first three places, and Nordic countries held five of the top 10.

While the UK lags only Canada among the Group of Seven nations, its female participation rate of 57% still significantly lags Sweden’s 69%, according to the report published yesterday.

The rewards are great for getting more women into work — the UK economy could get a US$178 billion (RM725.5 billion) boost by raising female employment to match levels seen in
Sweden. Increasing female employment across all OECD nations could lift GDP by over US$6 trillion, PwC said.

China and India weren’t included in the study as non-OECD nations. China would rank 27th, just ahead of Japan, while India would rank at the bottom, behind Korea, because of low levels of female participation.

The US has fallen 14 places since 2000, when the PwC survey started, as full-time female employment declined, according to PwC. Britain’s gender pay gap remains a key drag on progress, especially in London, where it has “barely budged” since 2010, the report said. — Bloomberg