Rabat – Morocco takes 137th place of 144 countries surveyed for their progress on closing the gender gap in academic institutions and the workforce, according to the World Economic Forum’s (WEF) newest report on the matter.
The kingdom and its closest neighbors on the list – Oman (133rd), Jordan (134th), and Lebanon (135th) – are still on a positive trajectory because wage equality in the business community decreased in the past year.
In the Middle East and North Africa region overall, the gender-based gaps in education and pay have closed by more than 60 percent, the report said, though the region still stands behind South Asia in the international index. Israel (49th) topped the MENA list, beating second place Qatar handily by 70 positions.
The WEF identified Saudi Arabia (141st) as the fifth most-improved country in the educational attainment category, though the absolute monarchy’s gender gap continues to widen in general.
Syria (142nd) and Yemen (144th) – the two countries that sandwiched Pakistan in the rankings – stood at the bottom of the list.
Iceland, Finland, Norway and Sweden took the top four positions internationally.
The United States (45th) faced criticism in this year’s report as well. The WEF criticized the North American for stagnating female participation in the labor force – especially in management positions and government offices. American voters head to the polls today and may elect the country’s first female president, Democratic candidate Hillary Clinton.
In sub-Saharan Africa, Rwanda (5th) led the pack, with Burundi (12th), Namibia (14th), South Africa (15th) and Mozambique (21st) trailing behind.
The forum’s economic report last month named Morocco as the most competitive country in North Africa.