Latvia ranks 10th in world for closing gender gap

Latvia has made great strides in closing the gender gap and now ranks 10th in the world in terms of opportunities available to women, according to a new report from the Geneva-based World Economic Forum.

The Global Gender Gap Report 2008, released Nov. 12, shows Latvia moved up three spots from last year’s ranking to enter the Top 10. The report measures the gap between men and women in four areas: economic participation and opportunity, educational attainment, political empowerment, and health and survival.

The report suggests Latvia has attained equality in educational attainment and is close to doing so in the area of health and survival. However, the country has a long way to go to close the gender gap in political empowerment.

Three years ago, when the World Economic Forum first released a gender gap report, Latvia ranked 19th.

Topping the 2008 list is Norway, which had a combined score of 0.824. In the report, a score of zero indicates inequality between men and women, while a score of 1 means equality. Latvia’s overall score is 0.740.

Finland is second, followed by Sweden, which slipped from the No. 1 spot last year. Ahead of Latvia at No. 9 is the Netherlands. The United States is 27th and Russia is 42nd, both jumping four spots up from last year. In last place is Yemen.

Lithuania, which last year ranked 14th, tumbled to 23rd in this year’s ranking. Estonia dropped to 37th this year from 30th last year.

Andris Straumanis is a special correspondent for and a co-founder of Latvians Online. From 2000–2012 he was editor of the website.

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