In a slight improvement on last year’s 125th place finish, Japan ranked 118th out of 146 countries in this year’s Global Gender Gap Report. It finished with a score of 0.663 against 0.647 in 2023. The scores range between 0 and 1, with 1 being full parity between men and women. While the ruling Liberal Democratic Party (LDP) may see this higher points tally as a sign of some kind of progress, the reality is that this country is still ranked much lower than the other Group of Seven industrialized nations. The second-lowest placed among them is Italy, 31 places ahead of Japan.  

A Closer Look at Japan’s Gender Gap Report

There were some small positives for Japan. It rose from 138th to 113th in the political empowerment index. According to the report, the number of female ministers has increased, but the overall female representation in parliament has shown “only marginal movement.” Japan dropped from 47th to 72nd in educational attainment but did rise three places, from 123rd to 120th in economic participation and opportunity. The country moved up one place, from 59th to 58th in the health and survival section.

“Although there has been an improvement in both the score and ranking compared with last year, it shows that our country’s efforts are still lagging behind other countries. We must humbly accept this reality,” said Chief Cabinet Secretary Yoshimasa Hayashi. 

Image by Anna Petek

134 Years Before Full Parity  

The Global Gender Gap Report was first published by the World Economic Forum (WEF) in 2006 with the aim of measuring gender equality across nations. Iceland topped the overall ranking this year, ahead of Finland and Norway. New Zealand and Sweden also finished in the top five. According to the 2024 report, “At the current rate of progress, it will take 134 years to reach full parity in 2158 — which is roughly five generations from now.” 

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