10/28/2014 10:19 EDT | Updated 12/28/2014 05:59 EST

Gender gap: Canada edges higher in ranking at ending gender disparities

Canada's ranking in an annual survey of progress at eliminating gender disparities around the world has improved slightly.

In the 2014 Gender Gap Index produced by the Geneva-based World Economic Forum, Canada came in at 19th position out of 142 countries. Canada was 20th last year.

Iceland topped the list, followed by four other Nordic countries: Finland, Norway, Sweden, and Denmark.

The report found that gender equality has improved in 105 countries since the survey began in 2006. The rankings are based on data from international organizations on health and survival, access to education, economic opportunity and political participation.

"Achieving gender equality is obviously necessary for economic reasons," Klaus Schwab, World Economic Forum founder and executive chairman, said in a statement. "Only those economies who have full access to all their talent will remain competitive and will prosper."

Tops in education

The survey found that Canada excelled in education, ranking first on the list for gender equality in literacy rates, along with enrolment in primary and post-secondary education.

Canada also topped the list in the ratio of female-to-male workers in the area of professional and technical workers, with 57 women in the field to every 43 men.

However, the country lagged when it came to women's involvement in politics.Canada came in 52nd on a ranking of gender equality parliament, with 25 female legislators for every 75 males.