According to the latest World Economic Forum Gender Gap Report, women are underrepresented and underpaid in work forces worldwide. These numbers are striking, given that women outnumber men at universities more than ever, are more likely to earn a degree than their male colleagues and equally likely to earn a PhD.

Nevertheless, they are less likely to enter traditionally male fields such as computer science, or to attain leadership positions (also a traditionally male field). When women do pursue these careers, they are less likely to be hired, paid less, and given less authority than men with comparable qualifications. In most developing countries, gender gaps in economic participation and employment are even wider. Research suggests persistent gender stereotypes as the root of unequal representation and evaluation of women.

Unfortunately, gender stereotypes are highly ingrained and have not changed much over the last 30 years. Some studies, however, raise hope that exposure to female role models can change implicit attitudes over time. Organisations need to continue to tackle gender gaps at all levels. While some actions need to be taken by regulators or top management, such as removing legal barriers for women and allowing more flexible working arrangements, other interventions can also be implemented in the short term. P.S. Data has been taken from The World Bank.

FARWAH ANUM ZEHRA,

Karachi, November 3.