First, the good news: When it comes to health outcomes and educational attainment, the world is doing well. Women are about as healthy as men and attend school at about the same rate.
However, fewer women are participating in the workforce than in the past, and salaries are growing less equal, according to a new report from the World Economic Forum. As the report explains, it will take 217 years for that gap to close.
Since 2006, the organization has tried to figure out whether the world is becoming more or less equal for women. This year, for the first time, it says things are getting worse.
Each year, the World Economic Forum assesses how women around the world are doing based on a variety of factors. The researchers compare data from 144 countries in four main categories:
- Economic participation and opportunity
- Political empowerment
- Health and survival.
The report’s authors blame the pay disparity on the fact that women are more likely than men to do unpaid work at home, and more likely to work in industries with lower average pay. Furthermore, women are much less likely than men to hold high-paid senior positions worldwide.
Of course, there are some bright spots: Iceland remains the world’s most gender-equal country across all indicators; much of Western Europe follows close behind.
“In 2017, we should not be seeing progress toward gender parity shift into reverse,” Saadia Zahidi, the World Economic Forum’s head of education, gender and work, said in a statement.
Though the United States scores high overall, the country still boasts big gaps in workforce participation and wages. And that’s bad, not just for women: The World Economic Forum estimates that the U.S. could add $1.75 trillion to its economy by reaching parity.