10 Best Places in the World to be a Woman

By Erin Valentine

If you are a woman, you may want to set your sails for the Nordic countries. Each year the World Economic Forum produces the Global Gender Gap Report. The report indexes 142 countries and ranks them according to gender gaps relating to four categories. The categories are health and survival, educational attainment, economic participation and opportunity, and political empowerment. The report scores the countries between 0.00 and 1.00, ranging from total inequality to complete equality respectively.

  1. Iceland

Consistently on lists as one of the happiest countries in the world, along with being one of the most feminist-friendly, Iceland has been in the number spot on the Gender Gap Index since 2009. High in educational attainment and political empowerment, Iceland has exceptional rankings in enrollment in tertiary education and professional and technical workers.

2. Finland

The land of a thousand lakes and the midnight sun, Finland is one of the places where women have the most representation in government, according to the OECD’s Government at a Glance. High in educational attainment and political empowerment, Finland has been the second or third highest in the Gender Gap Index since 2006.

3. Norway

It’s a land famous for its fjords. Norway is high in educational attainment, economic participation and opportunity, and political empowerment in the Gender Gap Index. According to the index report, Norway has also managed to close its gender gap in relation to estimated earned income.

4. Sweden

Home of the highest percentage of working mothers in the developed world, Sweden is another country where women have the most representation in government, according to the OECD’s Government at a Glance. A lack of gender gap in literacy rates, along with a higher ratio of women to men in ministerial positions, puts Sweden in comfortably in the top five.

5. Denmark

Home to the oldest continuing monarchy, Denmark has a high educational attainment ranking. It is up three spots from 2013’s Gender Gap Index report.

6. Nicaragua

Nicaragua is known for its diverse wildlife, history, and culture, along with housing the largest natural lake in Central America. In the report, it is high ranking in health and survival, with women outliving men.

7. Rwanda

Known as Africa’s cleanest country, Rwanda has more female members in its parliament than any other in the world. It also has a higher ratio of women to men in labor force participation and enrollment in primary education.

8. Ireland

Ahead of its time, ancient Irish laws, called Brehon Laws, gave women equal equality with men, which was revolutionary until they were ended under Queen Elizabeth I. Before the laws were banished, women were queens and warriors in their own right. Now, Ireland is high ranking in political empowerment, along with good rankings in educational attainment, excluding enrollment in primary education.

9. Philippines

One of the fastest growing countries in the world, the Philippines is high ranking in educational attainment and health and survival. All of the enrollments in education have a higher ratio of females to males.

10. Belgium

Belgium has a better wage gap than the EU average, yet a below average number of women in management for the EU. Educational attainment is high overall, excluding enrollment in secondary education.

Sadly, both of these reports show just marginal increases for women. In today’s society, it is incredibly frustrating to see a lack of fast change. The United States is clearly lacking from the top spots in both reports, even ranking below average in OECD’s data for representation of women in lower government houses. Also, the Gender Gap Index shows just that, the gap between genders, not necessarily the amount of equality. We’re making slow progress, but we have a lot farther to go.

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