The WEF report said South Africa has fully closed its health and survival gender gap, and has also almost closed its educational attainment gender gap, although a persistent gap in literacy is holding it back in this segment.
According to the report, no country has achieved gender parity when it comes to economic opportunities and work.
While there was an improvement in the country's labor-force participation to 106th in 2017, from 107th in 2016, there was a 14-notch decline in the country's ranking in wage equality for similar work to 21st in 2017, from seventh in 2016.
The Netherlands dropped 16 places on the World Economic Forum's annual gender equality ranking.
The health and survival category saw the starkest drop, with the Republic plummeting from 54th to 96th.
China was at the bottom of the list for the third year in a row for sex ratio at birth.
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The State has closed 97 per cent of its health gender gap, which is above the global average. This is a slight deterioration in 2016 and 2015, when the gap was 68.3 percent and 68.1 percent, respectively.
In the World Economic Forum's Gender Gap Index 2017, Iceland remains the world's most gender-equal country, a position it has held for nine years.
Further, it said, sectors like energy and mining, manufacturing and real estate show the highest change in the percentage of the female hiring rate in the last 10 years.
Among the industries surveyed globally, large gaps were found in the availability of women talent for entry-level positions and the demand for hiring in industries, like manufacturing, and energy and mining, the talent pool of women graduates was found to be much larger than the demand for hires, it said. Having closed almost 88 percent of its gap, it has been the world's most gender-equal country for nine years. The top 5 is completed by Rwanda (4) and Sweden (5). "However out of the 17 countries covered by the index in the MENA region this year, 11 countries have improved their overall score compared to last year". Ireland (8), New Zealand (9) and the Philippines (10) make up the top 10.
"Western European countries perform more strongly due to smaller economic and political gender gaps".
No country has closed the pay gap, WEF said, using data from institutions such as the International Labour Organization, United Nations Development Programme and World Health Organization.
Unpaid work measures the average minutes spent per day on routine housework, shopping, care for household members, care for non-household members volunteering, travel related to household activities and other unpaid activities for men and women aged 15-64 years.
Political empowerment has the widest gender gap with only Iceland having closed more than 70 percent of the gap.