S. Korea ranked 115th among 149 countries in gender gap report: WEF

Japan ranked 110th in gender equality

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"This year's analysis also warns about the possible emergence of new gender gaps in advanced technologies, such as the risks associated with emerging gender gaps in Artificial Intelligence-related skills", the report's authors write.

According to the report, Laos, in southeast Asia, was the closest to achieving parity with women earning 91 per cent of what men were paid.

It will take the Middle East and North Africa economies "153 years to close the gender gap at the current rate of change", the report stated.

Nordic countries Norway, Sweden and Finland were among the top scoring countries, followed by Nicaragua, which ranked fifth.

Compounding the gender gap in AI, particularly in wages, are where women are more prevalent - women in AI are only more represented in lower paying industries such as non-profits, education, and healthcare.

The report, which was published this week, showed Rwanda leading the region despite moving down two places after a reversal in progress on economic participation and opportunity.

Gender gap was measured across four key pillars - economic opportunity, political empowerment, educational attainment, and health and survival.

The forum's Global Gender Gap Report 2018 said South Korea's gender gap index was 0.657, compared with 0.673 of China and 0.662 of Japan, which ranked 103rd and 110th, respectively.

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India ranked lower on all segments - economic participation and opportunity, educational attainment, health and survival ranking, and political empowerment. The WEF ranked the United Kingdom 50th out of 149 countries for gender pay, with women collecting 70 per cent of that paid to men. The closer the figure is to 1, the greater the gender parity.

The island nation has a culture of political empowerment and boasts many strong female role models.

The report showed that there were now proportionately fewer women than men participating in the workforce, suggesting that automation was having a disproportionate impact on jobs traditionally performed by women.

"This continues to be a major source of why women don't enter the labor market at all or aren't able to progress as much as they should given the talent that they have", she added.

Even though Jordan dropped three ranks since previous year, its ranking has improved in two of the four categories, climbing up six spots in the "Educational Attainment" index to achieve a rank among the top 50 countries worldwide at 42nd.

"More than ever, societies can not afford to lose out on the skills, ideas and perspectives of half of humanity", said Klaus Schwab, executive chairman of the WEF.

"Proactive measures that support gender parity and social inclusion and address historical imbalances are therefore essential for the health of the global economy as well as for the good of society as a whole", he said.

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