Keeping South Africa’s women h

Keeping South Africa’s women healthy doesn’t make them successful: our gender gap explained

The World Economic Forum has released a report on the state of the gender gap around the globe. Let’s take a look at where a millenial South Africa stands

Keeping South Africa’s women h

While we rank low on Economic Participation and Opportunity, as well as Educational Attainment, our achieving the top ranking in Health and Survival put us at 18th worldwide — the highest of the BRICS nations.


South African has entirely closed its Health and Survival gender gap, meaning that there is a normal ratio of women to men being born, and a life expectancy for South Africa’s women comparative to that of its men. Our ranking is equal to that of many other third world countries, including Zimbabwe. First world countries don’t do well on this list, with the UK, US and Scandanavian countries suspiciously absent.


We didn’t rank too badly on Political Empowerment either, being in the top ten for women’s participation in parliament, although the presence of women in parliament is not a guarantor for access to opportunity and prevention from discrimination on the ground.


Educational Attainment for South African women is low, as the country ranks 85th in literacy and has a low admission at primary school level.


If women are educated, they may still face stumbling blocks en route to Economic Participation and Opportunity. We place 100th in rankings for estimated earned income and 79th for labour force participation.


Interestingly, many women are professional and technical workers, and we rank 1st on that list. And while jobs are available for women, a wide pay gap puts SA at 83rd in that particular ranking.

Overall, we are on an upward trend. South Africa has been in the top 20 countries since 2006 and our political empowerment is improving steadily. However, our ranking of 83rd in economic participation, as well as 85th in educational attainment, we still have a long way to go.

Ensuring the health and survival of women and girls may mean little if they are unable to gain access to education or economic empowerment.

Watch the WEF’s video on the global gender report: