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Ireland has been ranked sixth in the world for gender parity in key areas including the economy, politics, education and health.
It is 14 places above the UK in 20th position but falls below the Scandinavian standard bearers of Iceland, Finland, Norway and Sweden.
Ireland has fallen one place since 2015, now overtaken by Rwanda.
The World Economic Forum’s (WEF) index of nations is based on the gender analysed data from 144 countries and found the gap has widened to its largest since 2008.
It estimates there will not be economic gender parity for another 170 years, an increase on last year’s estimate of 118 years.
Rwanda has demonstrated the highest share of women in parliament globally at 64 per cent, while the Philippines scored full marks on a measure of the birth ratio and life expectancy of women.
The UK’s 2016 ranking marks a slide from 9th position on the WEF first’s index in 2006 and also reflects a small drop in the number of working women in senior and technical positions, as well as a reduction in the estimated income women earn compared to men.
A slight drop in the number of women parliamentarians sees the UK ranked 24th for political empowerment, WEF said, but the figures do not take into account Theresa’s May’s promotion to prime minister following the Brexit referendum.
Jemima Olchawski, head of policy and insight at the Fawcett Society, said: “This report busts the myth that gender inequality is somehow natural or inevitable and highlights how varied performance on closing gender gaps is, across the world, but also within Western Europe.
“It’s unacceptable that Britain is languishing at 53rd in the world for economic participation, is only 24th for political empowerment and performs below average overall compared to our region.
“The moral case for gender equality should be enough alone to motivate us to speed up the pace of change, but with evidence suggesting that improving gender equality could add £150 billion to our GDP, it’s also clear that we simply can’t afford to wait.”
The top 10 countries in the world for gender parity, according to WEF, are:
7. The Philippines
9. New Zealand