The Friendliest Countries for Females
When moving abroad or travelling overseas, it’s important for everyone to feel safe and protected. This is especially important for women, who can, in certain countries, see a different set of laws and attitudes applied to women than they might be used to.
So, we looked at the Women Peace and Security Index to find the friendliest countries for women. These countries have the best gender equality and safety for women, with low crime rates and minimal levels of harassment. The top eleven countries on the WPS Index were all European, so we also picked a few countries from further afield, to give the widest possible view.
Norway had the best score on the WPS index, topping the list for the best countries for women. Norway has been leading the way in gender equality. It has remained in the top three countries for the Global Gender Pay Gap Index since it was launched in 2006. 45% of the Norwegian parliament is women – the world average for women in government is 26%.
Crime in Norway is generally low, and women do not face any higher risk. The usual care should be taken when walking alone at night, especially in certain areas of larger cities, including Oslo. However, women can usually travel around Norway alone without facing harassment.
Finland came second on the WPS index. Also, like Norway, a large portion of the Finnish parliament are women – 47% in total. Finland was the first country in the world to allow women to vote and stand for elections and the first country to elect women to parliament. Quality childcare and the option to allow parental leave to be distributed between both parents means that a large portion of the female population is able to work. Finland is currently third on the Global Gender Pay Gap index, showing a commitment to pay equality.
Like Norway, it has a relatively low crime rate, including violent crime against women. Solo female travellers are able to explore the country safely with minimal risk of harassment.
Iceland ranked third on the WPS index. It’s seen as being generally good for gender equality, with a large proportion of women able to work, thanks to affordable childcare and shared parental leave. Iceland has topped the ranking for Gender Pay Gap since 2009 – the gap is currently at 12.2% and is decreasing at a rate where it looks to reach parity by 2068. 41% of parliament are women.
Iceland is often seen as one of the safest countries in the world, and this extends to women residents and travellers. Female visitors report feeling especially safe in Iceland, and it’s often touted to be a great starting destination for women to have their first solo trip.
The first non-European country on the WPS index, Canada came 12th overall. Whilst it trails behind some of its European counterparts, Canada is making good headway towards gender equality. Many government policies and legislature strive towards creating a truly equal society. 29% of the Canadian parliament are women, which is the highest proportion seen in Canada.
Canada has a low crime rate and is seen as very safe for female travellers. It also has a low rate of violent crime against women from their partners, which is accompanied by stringent domestic violence laws that aim to protect women without taking away their rights.
New Zealand is the second non-European country on the WPS index and comes in 13th overall. New Zealand has a female Prime Minister and 48% of parliament are women. The New Zealand government has shown a commitment to gender equality by prioritising education and training for women and girls, encouraging and developing women as leaders in industry and government, and improving safety from violence.
New Zealand has a low crime rate and female travellers will find they are generally safe. However, there has been a small rise in violent crimes, so women should take extra care to avoid dark and remote places when alone.
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