Women Gain in Education but Not Power, Study Finds November 13, 2008 By REUTERS GENEVA (Reuters) Women still lag far behind men in top political and decision-making roles, though their access to education and health care is nearly equal, the World Economic Forum said Wednesday. In its 2008 Global Gender Gap report, the forum, a Swiss research organization, ranked Norway, Finland and Sweden as the countries that have the most equality of the sexes, and Saudi Arabia, Chad and Yemen as having the least. Using United Nations data, the report found that girls and women around the world had generally reached near-parity with their male peers in literacy, access to education and health and survival. But in terms of economics and politics, including relative access to executive government and corporate posts, the gap between the sexes remains large. The United States ranked 27th, above Russia (42nd), China (57th), Brazil (73rd) and India (113th). But the United States was ranked below Germany (11th), Britain (13th), France (15th), Lesotho (16th), Trinidad and Tobago (19th), South Africa (22nd), Argentina (24th) and Cuba (25th). The worlds women are nearly as educated and as healthy as men, but are nowhere to be found in terms of decision-making, said Saadia Zahidi of the World Economic Forum Middle Eastern and North African countries received the lowest ratings over all. The rankings of Syria, Qatar, Bahrain and Saudi Arabia declined in 2008.The report said the inequalities in those countries were so large as to put them at an economic disadvantage. A nations competitiveness depends significantly on whether and how it educates and utilizes its female talent. To maximize its competitiveness and development potential, each country should strive for gender equality.