Gender equality at work more than 200 years off: WEF

"What we're seeing globally is that we don't have any country that's achieved gender equality, regardless of level of development, region or type of economy".

China is becoming a more unequal place for women, a new report says.

"In the workplace, women still encounter significant obstacles in taking on managerial or senior official roles", the report read, stating that it will take 202 years for the economic gap to close.

Meanwhile, Iceland was again judged the most gender-equal country across the globe for the 10th consecutive year, followed by Nordic countries such as Norway, Sweden and Finland.

But the gap is still an average of 32 per cent, with researchers concluding it will take two centuries to close it at the current rate. The study also finds the number of women in politics is actually declining. It showed drastic progress in economic factors, with increased wage equality and women's income.

Categorised as the lowest-ranked country in South Asia, Pakistan closed 55 per cent of its overall gender gap as compared to Bangladesh and Sri Lanka which were the top-ranked countries in the region, having closed just over 72pc and almost 68pc of their overall gender gap, respectively. This is the second year Canada has placed 16th in the worldwide organization's list, which measures economic, educational, health and political disparities experienced between men and women in more than 100 countries around the world. India's ranking on political empowerment came down to 19 in 2018, from 15 in the previous year.

While Tunisia topped the region for gender equality - ranking 119 globally, the UAE ranked 121 with the gender gap closed at 64.2 per cent. Saudi Arabia, ranked 141 with a 59 per cent gender gap rate, showed "modest progress", with improvement in wage equality and women's labour force participation, the report stated.

"In addition to being outnumbered three to one, women in AI are less likely to be positioned in senior roles", it said, stressing the "clear need for proactive measures to prevent a deepening of the gender gap in other industries where AI skills are in increasing demand".

The WEF highlights that women represent only 22 percent of the workforce for artificial intelligence, a major driver of innovation focused on machine learning.

"More than ever, can not afford to companies, to waive the skills, ideas and perspectives of half of humanity", said WEF founder Klaus Schwab in the report. Also, among the 29 countries for which data are available, women on average spend twice as much time on housework and other unpaid activities than men.

With an average remaining gender gap of 34.2pc, South Asia was the second-lowest scoring region on this year's Global Gender Gap Index, ahead of the Middle East and North Africa and behind Sub-Saharan Africa.