People and their talents are among the core drivers of sustainable, long-term economic growth. If half of these talents are underdeveloped or underutilized, growth and sustainability will be compromised. Moreover, there is a compelling and fundamental values case for empowering women: women represent one half of the global population—they deserve equal access to health, education, earning power and political representation.

The current inequalities risk being exacerbated in the future. The Fourth Industrial Revolution will transform the global economy and society in an unprecedented manner. Industries are already undergoing profound shifts in their business models as technology is disrupting current methods of production, consumption and delivery. Labour markets are also rapidly changing in this context. As a result, gender gaps are set to increase in some industries as jobs traditionally held by women become obsolete, while at the same time opportunities are emerging in wholly new domains. We must clearly understand the progress thus far as well as the future outlook to reap the opportunities and mitigate the challenges presented by these trends.

Through the Global Gender Gap Report, the World Economic Forum quantifies the magnitude of gender-based disparities and tracks their progress over time. While no single measure can capture the complete situation, the Global Gender Gap Index presented in this Report seeks to measure one important aspect of gender equality: the relative gaps between women and men across four key areas: health, education, economy and politics. The Index points to potential role models by revealing those countries that—within their region or income group—are leaders in distributing resources more equitably between women and men, regardless of the overall level of available resources.

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Is complete gender equality achievable? How do you think companies can help to close the gender gap?  Share your thoughts in the comments section below.

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