When it comes to gender equality, the U.S. is making gains, but we still have plenty of work to do. 

According to the annual Gender Gap Index, a report compiled by the Geneva-based World Economic Forum, the United States has narrowed the gender gap slightly, thanks to improved wages and more women holding political offices. But we are still barely cracking the top 20.  The Gender Gap Index measures four categories: health and survival, access to education, economic opportunity and political participation.

Overall, the report had good news, noting that gender equality is getting better nationwide with 105 countries showing improvements since the data were first measured in 2006. Health and education are two areas in particular in which women are seeing more access worldwide.

Nordic nations maintained their dominance in terms of promoting equality of the sexes with Iceland, Finland, Norway, Sweden and Denmark occupying the top five spots on the index. These countries are closest to closing the gender gap, but the report still estimates that it will take another 81 years before men and women are on equal footing in these countries.

Mali, Syria, Chad, Pakistan and Yemen made up the bottom of the list of the 142 ranked countries. 

India and China — two countries that have seen booms of economic growth in recent years — both fell in the rankings. India ranked high in terms of female political participation, with some of its most powerful positions in government recently occupied by women. But it was ranked very low on issues of income, literacy, work force participation and infant survival. China fell 18 spots since last year due primarily to its low ratio of female to male births.

For more information about gender equality issues and where each country ranks, check out the Global Gender Gap Report 2014.

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