US Upsets France In World Economic Forum Gender Gap Standings

RedTracker| The World Economic Forum’s 2010 gender report is released with some significant surprises. In the ongoing ‘battle of the femmes’ between American women and French women, the tables turned significantly from last year’s results. The headlines make for good reading, with the United States jumping 12 spots, just ahead of Canada but behind Latvia, to enter the top 20 for the first time in the five-year history of the report, launched in 2005.

In the other corner, France tumbled from 18th place in 2009 to 46th place in 2010. “The drop was mainly attributed to the departure this year of several high-ranking women from the government of President Nicolas Sarkozy. The report also found that women continued to hold a minority of management positions and that gender wage gaps remained significant.” via New York Times.

We knew the response would be swift in the American press, but we are admittedly caught off guard by this morning’s NYT article: Where Having It All Doesn’t Mean Having Eqality, written by Katrin Bennhold, an economist by training who worked for Bloomberg News before joining the International Herald Tribune three years ago. It’s terse and throws down the gauntlet about the lives of French women, primarily describing them as baby makers for the state.

The one thing we all can agree on is that the Scandinavian women DO seem to have it all. Iceland retained its top spot, followed by Norway, Finland, and Sweden. New Zealand, always in the top rankings on women’s equality, has the fifth spot.

The World Economic Forum’s Gender Gap report is available online. We’re digesting the details in full before commenting.

You can expect a massive outpouring of blog and journalistic commentary from American women on the reversal of rank in this year’s assessment of gender parity in 134 countries. In what we perceive as the unfortunate need of American and British women to ace out French women, largely because of their BMIs, France has handed its rivals a bottle of Veuve Clicquot.