The World Economic Forum has revealed the best countries in the world for women in their latest Global Gender Gap report. However, unlike most studies which measure the baseline quality of living, this report has a focus upon gender disparity.
The report analyses the economies of 144 countries in relation to the female workforce with a focus upon politics, education, health, and economy. The 2016 report is an excellent resource to explore the lives of women in different countries and distinguish which are the best in regards to the explored categories.
To put the study together, the WEF collated data from their own research, as well as that of UNESCO and the OECD (Organisation for Economic Co-Operation and Development).
The Top 10 Best Countries
The first Global Gender Gap report was available in 2006 and, since then, the Nordic states have reigned supreme. For the eighth consecutive year, Iceland has taken the top spot. Championed as the most feminist country in the world, this can explain why women are thriving. Women in Iceland are actively involved with politics and are taught about gender issues from a young age. The Icelandic government has pledged to close the gender pay gap completely by 2022.
Nordic state Finland takes second place, followed by Norway in third and Sweden in fourth. All three countries have closed over 80% of the gender gap and women make up the majority of highly-skilled work forces. Furthermore, there are abundant opportunities for women to rise to senior and powerful positions.
In fifth place is the East African country of Rwanda. Despite Rwanda being a developing nation, it is ahead of world powerhouses such as the UK and USA when it comes to gender equality. Interestingly, it is the country with the highest proportion of female parliamentarians in the world, standing at 64%.
The remaining top ten positions are made up of Ireland, Philippines, Slovenia, New Zealand and Nicaragua.
The Worst Ranked Countries
Despite women outnumbering men in Chad, it is the fifth worst country in the world in regards to gender disparity. Chad has the largest gender gap in education and, due to law allowing girls to marry at 15, many are missing out on developing academically. According to the UN, only 1.7% of women in the country have received any form of secondary education.
The countries in the bottom four places are all Middle Eastern. Saudi Arabia, Syria and Pakistan take positions 141, 142 and 143. Yemen is the worst country in the world for a woman.
Gender disparity in Middle Eastern countries is due to several legal and social restrictions, lack of employment opportunities, and obstructions to women’s economic and political involvement. In Yemen, there is a local saying; ‘to educate a woman is wrong because she has no place but her husband’s home.’ This goes a long way to explaining gender issues in many Middle Eastern countries.