The Economist’s 2018 glass-ceiling index shows that disparity between countries on workplace gender equality remains wide

The Economist’s 2018 glass-ceiling index shows that disparity between countries on workplace gender equality remains wide

According to The Economist’s 2018 glass-ceiling index (GCI), a yearly assessment of where women have the best and worst chances of equal treatment at work in countries in the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD), a group of mostly rich countries, the disparity between countries in terms of workplace gender equality remains wide. But there has been an encouraging increase in the overall share of women in the labour force, with a tertiary education and of those taking business-school entrance exams, which is a pipeline for senior executive jobs. 

The GCI, which combines data on higher education, labour-force participation, pay, child-care costs, maternity and paternity rights, business-school applications and representation in senior jobs to create a ranking of 29 OECD countries, shows that the Nordics are the best places to work if you are a woman.

Highlights of this year’s Index:

  • The Nordic countries continue to do well with Sweden taking over from Iceland as the best place to be a working woman
  • Britain fell from 22nd to 25th place with fewer women attaining higher education
  • America under President Donald Trump rose from 20th to 19th place thanks in part to a higher female labour-force participation rate, and more adult women with tertiary degrees
  • Germany fell from 19th to 20th place due to a fall in its share of women in parliament (36.5% to 30.7%) and those taking the GMAT business school entrance exam
  • The percent of women on boards (OECD average) is still quite low at 21.8%, which only rose by 1.3% from last year 

Turkey, Japan and South Korea continue to hold the worst places to be a working woman in The Economist’s Glass Ceiling Index, but that may change next year as the #MeToo movement gains ground in South Korea.

This is the sixth year that The Economist has released its glass-ceiling index. When it was launched in 2013 there were five indicators and 26 countries; today it consists of ten indicators including maternity and paternity leave for 29 OECD countries.

To view the full index, please visit: For more info or to interview our data journalist on the glass-ceiling index, please contact:  (UK) Holly Donahue at or +44 20 7576 8379 (US) Lauren Hackett at or +1 212 554 0639

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