GENEVA, Dec. 18 (Xinhua) -- Despite the global gender gap narrowing slightly in 2018, proportionately fewer women than men are participating in the labor force or political life, the World Economic Forum (WEF) said Tuesday.
The WEF's "Global Gender Gap Report 2018" found that overall the economic gender gap narrowed in 2018. However, access to health and education, and political empowerment showed reversals.
Stagnation in the proportion of women in the workplace and women's declining representation in politics, coupled with greater inequality in access to health and education, offset improvements in wage equality, the report found.
"The economies that will succeed in the Fourth Industrial Revolution will be those that are best able to harness all their available talent," said Klaus Schwab, WEF's founder and executive chairman.
"Proactive measures that support gender parity and social inclusion and address historical imbalances are therefore essential for the health of the global economy as well as for the good of society as a whole," he said.
At the current rate of change, the data suggest it will take 108 years before the overall gender gap is closed and 202 years to bring about parity in the workplace.
Having closed more than 85.8 percent of its overall gender gap, the global list has been topped by Iceland for the 10th straight year.
Despite its performance, Iceland saw a slight drop in economic participation and opportunity after an increase in the gender gap between legislators, senior officials and managers.
Trailing Iceland in the global list are Norway (2nd, 83.5 percent), Sweden (3rd, 82.2 percent); Finland (4th, 82.1 percent) and Nicaragua (5th, 80.9 percent), which rose one spot, overtaking Rwanda (6th, 80.4 percent), whose steady multi-year climb has halted for the first time.
The newest entrant to the top 10 is Namibia (10th, 78.9 percent), the second country from sub-Saharan Africa to do so.