Global Gender Gap Index 2023: Maldives at 124th out of 146 countries

The scores are based on the extent to which women have access to resources and opportunities in comparison to men.

The Gender Gap Index is an annually published report by the World Economic Forum (WEF) with the intent of capturing the magnitude of gender-based disparities and tracking progress over time. This index quantifies the gaps between women and men in four key areas: Economic Participation and Opportunity, Educational Attainment, Health and Survival, and Political Empowerment. Since its debut in 2006, it has been the longest-running index tracking the progress of several countries' efforts to close these gaps over time.

The scores are based on the extent to which women have access to resources and opportunities in comparison to men. Countries are graded on a scale of 0 to 1. A score of 1 represents complete equality between men and women, whereas a score of 0 denotes complete inequality.

This year marks the 17th edition of the Global Gender Gap Index which benchmarks gender parity across 146 countries.

Key Findings

1.     Although no country has achieved full gender parity, the top nine countries - Iceland, Norway, Finland, New Zealand, Sweden, Germany, Nicaragua, Namibia, and Lithuania have closed at least 80 percent of the gap. With a score of 91.2 percent, Iceland secures the top spot for the 14th year in a row. It is also the only country that has closed the gender gap by more than 90 percent.

2.     For the 146 countries covered in the 2023 index, the Health and Survival gender gap has closed by 96 percent, the Educational Attainment gap by 95.2 percent, Economic Participation and Opportunity gap by 60.1 percent, and the Political Empowerment gap by 22.1 percent.

3.     Taking into consideration the rate of progress over the 2006- 2023 periods, the number of years that will be taken to close the gaps are:

  • Political Empowerment: 162 years
  • Economic Participation and Opportunity:169 years
  • Educational Attainment: 16 years
  • Health and Survival: undefined

Performance by Subindex

1.     Economic Participation and Opportunity

  • Countries with relatively even access for men and women: Liberia (89.5%), Jamaica (89.4%), Moldova (86.3%), Lao PDR (85.1%), Belarus (81.9%), Burundi (81.0%), and Norway (80%).
  • Countries with the lowest scores: Algeria (31.7%), Iran (34.4%), Pakistan (36.2%), and India (36.7%).
  • An important source of gender inequality: underrepresentation of women in the labor market.

2.     Educational Attainment

  • The subindex with the second-highest global parity score - with only 4.8 percent of the gap left to close.
  • Countries with full gender parity in Educational Attainment have increased from 21 to 25.
  • Cross-country scores are less dispersed with the majority (117 out of 146) having closed at least 95 percent of their gap.  
  • Countries with the lowest scores: Afghanistan (48.2%), Chad, the Democratic Republic of the Congo, Guinea, Angola, Niger, and Mali with scores between 63.7%-77.9 percent.

3.     Health and Survival

  • The subindex displays the highest level of gender parity globally at 96 percent
  • Countries with the top scores: 26 countries, mostly from Europe, Latin America and the Caribbean, and Sub-Saharan Africa displayed the top score of 98% parity.
  • Countries with the lowest scores: Qatar, Viet Nam, Azerbaijan, India, and China all score below the 95 percent mark.

4.     Political Empowerment

  • The subindex registers the largest gender gap, at only 22.1 percent of the gap closed, and the greatest spread of scores across countries.
  • Best Performer: Iceland stands out with a 90.1 percent parity score, which is 69 percent points above the median global score (21.1%).
  • Countries with the top scores: Only 10 other countries scored above the 50 percent parity score. They are New Zealand (72.5%), Finland (70%), Germany (63.4%), Nicaragua (62.6%), Bangladesh (55.2%), Mozambique (54.2%), Rwanda (54.1%), Costa Rica (52.4%), Sweden (51.2%) and Chile (50.2%).
  • Countries with the lowest scores: Myanmar (4.7%), Nigeria (4.1%), Iran (3.1%), Lebanon (2.1%), Vanuatu (0.6%), and Afghanistan (0%).
  • Iceland and Bangladesh are the only countries where women have held the highest political position in a country for a higher number of years than men. In 67 other countries, women have never served as head of state in the past 50 years.
  • The countries with the least representation of women in parliament (less than 5%) are Maldives (4.8% of the gender gap closed), Qatar (4.6%), Nigeria (3.7%), Oman (2.4%), and Vanuatu (1.9%).


The overall score of Maldives is 0.649 and ranks at 124th out of 146 countries. Maldives scored well in education and health attainment, however lags behind on economic participation and opportunity for women, and on political empowerment too. 

Here is the standing of Maldives across the sub-indices in relation to the highest and lowest-scoring countries

1.     Economic Participation and Opportunity

  #131: Maldives (0.512)

  #1: Liberia (0.895)

  #146: Afghanistan (0.188)

2.     Educational Attainment

  #91: Maldives (0.984)

  #1: Argentina (1.000)

  #146: Afghanistan (0.482)

3.     Health and Survival

  #121: Maldives (0.962)

  #1: Belarus (0.980)

  #146: Azerbaijan (0.936)

4.     Political Empowerment

  #103: Maldives (0.139)

  #1: Iceland (0.901)

  #146: Afghanistan (0.000)

Performance of South Asia

1.     Gender Parity

  •   South Asia has achieved 63.4 percent parity, the second-lowest score among all 8 regions. However, this represents a 1.1 percent rise since 2022.
  •   Countries that improved: India, Pakistan, Bangladesh, and, Bhutan with 0.5% points or more.
  •   Countries that backslid: Sri Lanka, Afghanistan, and Nepal with 0.5% points or more.
  •   Best performers: Bangladesh, Bhutan, and Sri Lanka.
  •   Bottom performers: Pakistan and Afghanistan (at the bottom of both regional and global ranking tables).
  •   Timeline for full parity: 149 years.

2.     Economic Participation and Opportunity

  •  South Asia remains the furthest away from this parity having closed 37.2 percent of the gap. However, this represents a 2.4 percent rise since 2022.
  •   Countries that improved: Pakistan, India, and Bangladesh.
  •   Countries that backslid: Maldives and Nepal.
  •   Best performers: Bhutan, Sri Lanka, and Maldives.
  •   Bottom performers: Pakistan and Afghanistan.

3.     Educational Attainment

  •   Ranking 5th out of all the 8 regions, South Asia has closed 96 percent of the gap.
  •   Best performers: India, Sri Lanka, and Maldives. 
  •   Bottom performers: Bangladesh, Nepal, Pakistan, and Afghanistan (achieved less than 95 percent parity)
  •   Afghanistan is a negative outlier with only 48.1 percent of the gender gap

4.     Health and Survival

  •   South Asia has achieved 95.3 percent parity, the second-lowest regional parity score. However, this represents a 1.1 percent rise since 2022.
  •   Countries that improved: Pakistan, India, Maldives, and Nepal.
  •   Full parity in life expectancy: only Sri Lanka has attained.  

5.     Political Empowerment

  •   This index represents the widest gender gap  
  •   South Asia has achieved 25.1 percent parity, the fourth-highest score among the 8 regions. However, this represents a 1 percent reduction since 2022. 
  •  Countries that improved: Maldives, Bangladesh, and Nepal.   
  •   Countries that backslid: Sri Lanka and Afghanistan.
  •   Nepal and Afghanistan have seen negative changes in parity in parliamentary positions.

The report revealed a gloomy picture of gender equality stagnation, estimating a deficit of 131 years to close. Despite this distressing reality, there is a ray of hope: global gender parity has returned to pre-COVID-19 levels, albeit at a sluggish rate. 

According to the 2023 report, the total gender gap has shrunk by 0.3 percent since 2022. Nonetheless, achieving parity is predicted to be a difficult effort, with the projected year remaining dishearteningly far at 2154!

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