During the past financial year, the IMF’s 189 member countries faced a number of pressing challenges. IMF work on these challenges—slower trade, declining productivity, gender inequality, inclusive growth, and debt management—is a central focus of this 2017 Annual Report.
Historically, women around the world have had less opportunity than men in education, employment, and health care, and less political representation. Many global gender gaps have narrowed in recent decades, particularly in education enrollment. Even so, the World Economic Forum estimates that at the current rate of progress it will take 170 years to close the overall global gender gap in economic participation and opportunity.1 One hundred and seventy years. With a prognosis so dire, eliminating gender disparities may seem daunting and perhaps even impossible.