Bahrain has one of the lowest employment discrimination rates in the Gulf, despite a 19 percent gender gap in its workforce, according to a global research organisation. Sixty-one percent of the country's women  are employed as opposed to 80 percent of men, resulting in an inequality ratio of -19, said US-based Gallup.
The poll shows that significantly less women are employed in one-fourth of 144 countries surveyed with Saudi Arabia, Oman and Qatar listed among the nations with the widest gaps, while Kuwait tops the chart with a gap of only 1 percent. It was compiled through telephone and face-to-face interviews with nearly 200,000 people worldwide and researchers then deducted the percentage of working women from men to get the end result. It ranked Bahrain in the group of nations with an employment gender gap of at least 10 percent. "A total of 61 percent of women are working full time or part time for an employer, while the number of men working full time or part time stands at 80 percent," said the report.
The report states that at least 15 percent gender gaps exist in 13 countries, but it is as wide as 22 percent or more in Ecuador, Saudi Arabia, Oman, Qatar, Bolivia, Honduras, El Salvador, Rwanda, Botswana and Mauritius. Among the GCC, Kuwait beats the mark with 88 percent of working women in comparison to 89 percent men. It was also listed among the countries where women were most likely to be working the number of hours they desired alongside Singapore, Sweden, Slovakia, Belgium, Finland, Denmark, Malta and Estonia. Meanwhile, in the Middle East and North African region the average ratio of working women is 40 percent, while for men it stands at 44 percent, said the report.
The Gallup results were based on interviews with 187,119 people, aged 15 and above, which were conducted last year. Globally it found that an average of 43 percent of women were employed compared to 49 percent of men. However, the survey excluded people who were self-employed. "This is in line with findings from the World Bank, which has reported that women tend to be underrepresented in the formal sector," added the report. "Despite the advantage men have worldwide, women outperform men by double digits in four countries - Ireland, Mongolia, Finland and Serbia." The poll also found that countries with high gross domestic product have the largest gender difference, including Sweden, Canada and Denmark. It urged decision makers to better equip women with employment opportunities, saying that social norms in some countries lead to gender gaps  in the workforce.
"Women around the world who want to work clearly do not participate in the formal global economy to the same degree as men," added the survey. "Further, this issue is not confined to any region or only to developing countries."