The best countries for women in terms of gender equality have been announced by The World Economic Forum in the new edition of its annual Global Gender Gap report.
The 2016 report assesses 144 economies on how well they utilise the female workforce in their country based on economic, educational, health-based and political indicators. The report can be used as an objective analysis of women’s quality of life and to thereby rank the world’s best countries for women with regards to business, politics, education and health.
Assessing gender equality
To produce the Index, the World Economic Forum analyses more than a dozen datasets including those produced by World Economic Forum, UNESCO Institute of Statistics and the OECD. The rankings are compiled by calculating gender-based gaps in accessing resources such as education, healthcare and opportunities to participate in political and economic processes.
Assessing the gender gap enables the Index to compare rich and poor countries on an equal footing. It is the disparity between genders that is being measured rather than the baseline quality of living.
best countries for women: insights
Out of the 142 countries covered by the Index both this year and last year, 68 countries have increased their overall gender gap score compared with last year, while 74 have seen it decrease. It has therefore been an ambiguous year for global gender parity, with uneven progress at best.
The Nordic states are consistently the best countries for women and have been so since the report was first produced in 2006.
Iceland (1) takes the top spot for the eighth consecutive year. Finland (2) overtakes Norway and regains its second place in the world. As a result, Norway (3) returns to its previous third-place position. Meanwhile, Sweden (4) maintains its ranking as fourth best for the eighth year running.
Rwanda (5) crosses the threshold of closing 80% of its gender gap and overtakes Ireland to break into the top five for the first time since entering the Index. Notably, it is the country with the highest share of female parliamentarians in the world at 64%.
The UK (20) drops two places from 18 last year with an overall slight decline in female legislators, senior officials and managers as well as professional and technical workers.
Meanwhile, the US (45) drops a significant 17 places from 28 last year. According to the report, female labour force participation in the US has been stagnating for a number of years, including among legislators, senior officials and managers.
The worst country for gender parity is, as last year, Yemen (144). Making up the rest of the bottom five are Pakistan (143), Syria (142), Saudi Arabia (141) and Chad (140).
best countries for women ranking
The highest possible score is 1 (equality) and the lowest possible score is 0 (inequality).
|44||Trinidad and Tobago||0.723|
|83||Bosnia and Herzegovina||0.685|
|124||United Arab Emirates||0.639|
|139||Iran, Islamic Rep.||0.587|
* Indicates new countries for 2015
Source: Global Gender Gap Report 2016.
(Lead image: Dreamstime)