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Women gain as gender gap worldwide narrows, report says

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The world's gender gap narrowed slightly in 2013, improving in 86 of 133 countries ranked by the World Economic Forum. 

Iceland, Finland and Norway were the top-ranking countries, having closed more than 80% of its gender gap, the report said. The United States was No. 23 at 74%. The score is the percentage of gap that has been closed between men and women. The U.S. is behind countries that included Nicaragua, Cuba and Britain.

The annual report by the Swiss nonprofit foundation examines gender gaps in four key areas -- economic participation and opportunity, political empowerment, economic equality and health and survival. 

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“Countries will need to start thinking of human capital very differently -- including how they integrate women into leadership roles," said Klaus Schwab, chairman of the World Economic Forum. 

A regional analysis by the report's authors found many disparities. In Europe, for instance, countries in the northern and western parts of the continent have made better strides in closing their gender gaps. Italy ranks 71st on the list. 

The Philippines is the highest ranking Asian country, primarily because of its efforts in health, education and economic participation. 

Latin America's leading country is Nicaragua, where more women have participated in politics in recent years. 

The Middle East and north Africa are the only regions where countries did not improve their overall standings.

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