According to the World Economic Forum, gender-sensitive recovery strategies will be critical in making up ground lost during 2020.
By Susan Nyawira
The Institute of Economic Affairs has said that gender parity should be targeted across all sectors in the economy as one low score, affects the overall score thus creating a large gender gap.
This comes as the the World Economic Forum(WEF) released the 2021 Global Gender Gap Rankings report where Kenya came third in the East Africa region after Uganda and Tanzania.
Uganda ranked position 66 globally, Tanzania 82 wile Kenya was at 95.
According to the economists at IEA, Kenya's performance would have been better just that there was no balance in the various indexes being used to measure gender balance.
"Various sectors in the country should now start having discussions and create policies on gender equality to ensure this gap is narrowed," the economists said.
The country's performance was affected by low gender balance in the economic participation index and political empowerment, as the pandemic prevailed.
In the economic participation index, Kenya ranked 84, Tanzania 66 while Uganda was 74 in educational attainment they ranked 126, 127 and 131 respectively.
For the political empowerment index, Uganda ranked highest globally at 46, Tanzania at 63 while Kenya was at 79.
Kenya has been ranked 84 on women's participation in economic activities and 126 on education opportunities for women.
It has also narrowed the gap in women's representation in politics ranking at position 79 with constitutional two-thirds gender rule having men occupy 66 percent of public offices.
The report by WEF noted that pre-existing gender gaps were amplified by the pandemic asymmetrically between men and women, with the hardest hit sectors being those where women are more frequently employed.
"Preliminary evidence suggests that the health emergency and the related economic downturn have impacted women more severely than men, partially re-opening gaps that had already been closed," the report said
According to WEF, gender-sensitive recovery strategies will be critical in making up ground lost during 2020 to prevent long-term scarring in the labour market.
The report predicts that it will take 121.7 years to close the gender gap in Sub-Saharan Africa.
Globally, the average distance completed to parity is at 68 per cent, 0.6 percentage points back compared to 2020 .These figures are mainly driven by a decline in the performance of large countries.
"On its current trajectory, it will now take 135.6 years to close the gender gap worldwide," the report notes.
Iceland is the most gender-equal country in the world, followed by Finland then Norway.
This article was published by The Star.