Jackie Gingrich Cushman

The index does not measure the absolute performance by gender, but rather the gap between men and women in specific areas within the country.

Iceland, Finland, Norway and Sweden are the top four countries in the index. The United States ranks 23rd -- below Nicaragua, Latvia, Cuba, Germany and South Africa. In two of the four areas, the United States scored strongly. We were first in "education attainment" and sixth in "economic participation." In the "health and survival area," the United States came in 33rd. In the "political empowerment arena," we dropped to a dismal 60th.

How are the Body Evolution video and Global Gender Gap related? A country that appears to value fake beauty above health and political involvement needs to pause and reflect on the values and attributes that are most important. Women and men need to understand, embrace and promote the idea that by working together, we can be better.

Several organizations are taking portions of life and influence and focusing on them. Lean In (Business), The Representation Project (Film and Media), and Emily's List and Maggie's List (Politics). But there is much work to be done, and all can pitch in.

The disparity between the visual and social cues that women receive from the media and the outcomes represented by the Gender Gap studies makes me rethink my own journey and worry about that of my 14-year-old daughter, Maggie. How can we, together, begin to promote, watch, view and spread the message that real is better than fake and that we can be better together, with the goal of -- not pulling men down -- but encouraging women to participate with men?

My conclusion is that there is work to be done, much good and needed work.

Jackie Gingrich Cushman

Jackie Gingrich Cushman is a speaker, syndicated columnist, socialpreneur, and author of "The Essential American: 25 Documents and Speeches Every American Should Own," and co-author of “The 5 Principles for a Successful Life: From Our Family to Yours”.