The COVID-19 pandemic has added 36 years to the amount of time it will take to close the gender gap worldwide, according to the World Economic Forum (WEF).

The international organization released its “Global Gender Gap Report 2021” on Tuesday that estimates it will take an average of 135.6 years for women and men to reach parity.

WEF previously estimated it would take 99.5 years to close the gap in its 2020 report.

"Another generation of women will have to wait for gender parity," WEF said in a statement released to France24.

WEF examined gender data from 156 countries and has published the annual report since 2006, measuring equality in terms of economic opportunity, political power, education, and health. Countries are then ranked on a scale of 0 to 100 against the Global Gender Gap Index. Afghanistan, Guyana, and Niger were ranked for the first time this year.

The global gender gap is 68% closed and is down by half a point compared to 2020, according to the report. The decline is mostly attributed to poor economic growth across countries during the COVID-19 pandemic.

Many women were forced to balance unpaid care and domestic work or in some cases leave their jobs entirely. Men and women were both hit economically the pandemic but of all the employed women in the world, 5% lost their jobs compared to 3.9% of men. There has also been a decline in the number of women hired for leadership roles, setting progress back by one to two years.

Countries across the world saw improvements in certain areas but others continue to lag behind. Over a fifth of countries (37) reached gender parity in education. And despite the lack of access to sexual and reproductive health during the COVID-19 pandemic, 95% of the gender gap in health closed.

Read the full article about gender equality and COVID-19 by Leah Rodriguez at Global Citizen.