The cost-of-living crisis is hitting women hardest, the report says

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GENEVA (AP) – A livelihood crisis, fueled in part by higher fuel and food prices, is expected to hit women hardest, the World Economic Forum reported on Wednesday, pointing to a widening gender gap in the global workforce.

The Geneva-based think tank and event organizer, best known for hosting an annual gathering of elites in the Swiss Alpine town of Davos, says the hoped-for recovery from a skyrocketing gender gap has not materialized as expected, like the COVID-19 -19 crisis has eased.

The forum estimates that it will now take 132 years – up from 136 – for the world to reach gender parity, which the organization defines in terms of four main factors: wages and economic opportunity, education, health and political empowerment.

A country breakdown gave Iceland top marks, followed by several Nordic countries and New Zealand, as well as Rwanda, Nicaragua and Namibia. Germany, Europe’s largest economy, was ranked 10th out of 146 countries in the report. Further down the list are the world’s largest economies: the US at 27th, China at 102nd and Japan at 116th.

Saadia Zahidi, executive director of the forum, says women have been disproportionately hit by the cost-of-living crisis after job losses during the pandemic and insufficient “care infrastructure” – for example for the elderly or children.

“Faced with a weak recovery, government and business need a dual effort: targeting policies to support women’s return to the workforce and developing female talent in the industries of the future,” she said. “Otherwise we risk permanently eating up the achievements of the past decades and losing the future economic benefits of diversity.”

Now in its 16th year, the report aims to track shocks in the labor market that can impact the gender gap.

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This story has been updated to show that the US is ranked 27th in the report, not 10th.

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