By Bahk Eun-ji
The World Economic Forum disclosed Friday the Global Gender Gap Report, which shows that Korea is one of the worst places for women to live in the world.
It is ranked 111th among 136 countries surveyed, and dropped down three notches from last year, despite the election of the nation's first female president in December 2012.
In fact, the country's ranking has dropped for four straight years from 104th in 2010 to 107th in 2011 and 108th last year.
This means that gender inequality in Korea is similar to that suffered by women in Middle Eastern countries such as the United Arab Emirates (109th), Bahrain (112th), and Qatar (115th).
One working woman in Seoul questioned about the report's findings responded, "This is absolutely atrocious."
The report is based on four categories of women's economic participation and opportunities available to them; educational attainment; health; and survival and political empowerment. These criteria assess the overall quality of life for women compared to men in each nation.
The rankings are measured on a scale of zero to one with one indicating the existence of complete gender equality. The overall score for Korea is 0.635, while Iceland that topped the list with 0.873 with runner-up Finland at 0.842. Yemen is on the bottom with Pakistan, Chad and Syria marginally above it.
The data shows that women in Korea have been provided with good educational opportunities, with a score in this category of 0.959 and health with 0.973, but the political participation and distribution was 0.504 and 0.105, respectively.
Political empowerment rankings are determined by the proportion of women in the National Assembly.
Among Asian countries, the Philippines jumped three places to fifth and China remained at the same slot at 69th, and Japan ranked 105th, four places down from last year.
"The rankings are designed to create greater awareness among a global audience of the challenges posed by gender gaps and the opportunities created by reducing them," the report said.
The report also noted that the index continues to track the strong correlation between a country's gender gap and its national competitiveness.
"Because women account for one-half of a country's potential talent base, a nation's competitiveness in the long term depends significantly on whether and how it educates and utilizes its women," it said.
한국의 성(性) 평등 수준이 세계 136개국 가운데 111위로 최하위권인 것으로 나타났다.
세계경제포럼(WEF)이 25일(현지시간) 발표한 `2013 세계 성 격차(Gender Gap Index) 보고서'에 따르면 올해 136개 조사대상국 중 한국의 성 평등 순위는 111위로 지난해(108위)보다 세 계단 하락했다.
이는 아랍에미리트(109위), 바레인(112위), 카타르(115위) 등 아랍 국가들과 비슷한 수준이다. 한국의 역대 성 격차 지수 세계 순위는 2010년 104위, 2011년 107위, 2012년 108위로 계속 하락하는 추세이다.
보고서는 성 평등 수준 측정을 위해 여성 경제 참여 정도와 기회, 교육 정도, 정치권력 분산, 보건 등 4개 분야로 크게 분류하고 이를 여성의 노동시장 참여, 초등 및 고등 교육기관 등록 비율, 여성 각료와 의원 숫자, 기대수명 등 14개 세부 지표로 나눠 유엔이나 국제기구 등의 자료를 종합·분석해 각국별 순위를 매긴다.
지표별 순위를 보면 한국의 여성 경제참여도와 기회 지수는 118위로 지난해보다 두 계단 떨어졌고, 교육 정도(100위), 보건(75위), 정치권력 분산(86)도 하위권에 머물렀다.