Countries With the Smallest Gender Gap

The gender gap is higher in some countries than others.
The gender gap is higher in some countries than others.

The World Economic Forum came up with the Global Gender Gap Report in 2006 to capture the degree of gender-based discrepancies and to track their progress. The report focuses on gender disparities in the economy, education, health, and politics. According to the 2017 report, the average gender gap in the world is 32%, and it will take some 100 years to close the gap. The difference was higher than in 2016, when it was 31.7% and reported to take 83 years to settle. The scores for 82 countries increased while in 60 countries there was a decrease.

Countries With the Smallest Gender Gap


Iceland has the smallest gender gap in the world. The country has a global index score of 0.878 having closed 87% of its total gender gap. Political empowerment in the country remains at number one with a score of 0.750, as women hold 30 parliamentary seats out of 62 in the nation. Economic participation and opportunity fell out of the top ten to number 14. This drop developed from a small increase in the gender gap among legislators and senior managers. Iceland has employed about 80% of women. About 66% of graduates from the country’s universities are women, a number that has made the measure of educational attainment to get a score of 0.995 and ranked 57th. The gender gap in health and survival is at position 114 with a score of 0.969.


The year 2017 saw Norway climb to the second position in the global gender gap index. Norway closed over 83% of its gender gap and had a score of 0.830. The number of women holding ministerial positions dropped slightly to put political empowerment at position four. Economic participation and opportunity improved in the number of female legislators and senior managers, but wages are in slow progress. This measure ranks at position eight in the world with women outnumbering men in professional and technical work. Educational attainment is ranked 38th with a score of 0.999 while gender gap in health and survival holds the 80th position globally.


Finland managed to close its overall gender gap by more than 82%. Political empowerment is ranked at position four with a score of 0.530 after the difference in ministerial positions for women opening. The gender gap in economic participation and opportunity was ranked at position 16, while health and survival had a score of 0.978 holding the 46th position in the world. In educational attainment, Finland rose to the top spot with women slightly outnumbering men in tertiary education. The gender gap in educational attainment is fully closed.

Controversies Surrounding the Index

The credibility of the Global Gender Gap Index has controversies that mainly result from misunderstandings. A television news program in South Korea claims that the data used in the index does not reflect the situation in the country accurately. This claim is misleading since the index measures gender gaps in access to resources and opportunities and not the number of available resources and opportunities in countries.

Countries With the Smallest Gender Gap

RankCountryPercentage of Gender Gap Closed (%)
9New Zealand 79

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