Best countries for women 2019 – ranked

The world’s best countries for women in terms of gender equality have been announced. We take a look at the updated results

The Georgetown Institute for Women, Peace and Security, in partnership with the Peace Research Institute of Oslo, has released the 2019 Women, Peace and Security (WPS) Index. The index ranks 167 countries by women’s equality.

The index assesses women’s inclusion in society, sense of security and exposure to discrimination – key indicators of how women are faring in different communities and cultures.

This is the first update of the index since its launch in 2017.

10 best countries for women

  1. Norway
  2. Switzerland
  3. Finland
  4. Denmark
  5. Iceland
  6. Austria
  7. United Kingdom
  8. Luxembourg
  9. Sweden
  10. Netherlands

“Women are critical to achieving sustainable peace”

GIWPS

Assessing gender equality

The index uses 11 indicators to assess the world’s best countries for women in terms of gender equality. These indicators fall into three categories: inclusion, security and justice.

Inclusion

  • Education: average years of education among women aged 25 and over
  • Financial inclusion: percentage of women aged 15 and over who have a bank account, joint bank account or use a mobile banking app
  • Employment: percentage of women aged 25 and older that are employed
  • Cellphone use: percentage of women aged 15 and older who have access to a mobile phone
  • Parliamentary representation: percentage of seats held by women across all houses of national parliaments

Security

  • Legal discrimination: aggregate score of laws and regulations that limit women’s ability to participate in society or the economy
  • Son bias: where the ratio of male to female births exceed the natural rate
  • Discriminatory norms: percentage of men aged 15 years and older who say it’s unacceptable for women to hold paying jobs

Justice

  • Intimate partner violence: percentage of women physically or sexually assaulted in the last 12 months
  • Community safety: percentage of women aged 15 and older who report feeling safe while walking alone at night
  • Organised violence: deaths per 100,000 people caused by large-scale armed conflicts

World’s best countries for women: insights

Of 167 countries, only Iceland (5) performed in the top third of every aspect of women’s lives captured by the WPS Index. This insight proves that the need to advance gender equality is truly a universal agenda.

The worst and best countries for women
GIWPS The best and worst countries for women

Norway is the world’s best country for women in 2019. Switzerland, Finland, Denmark and Iceland round out the top five. The 10 best countries for women are all in Europe with Canada (11) the highest ranked non-European country.

Among regions, the Middle East and North Africa generally perform poorly overall. Of the 12 worst countries, only Pakistan is not classified as fragile and conflict affected. Six of those 12 are located in Sub-Saharan Africa.

A total of 59 countries recorded significant progress since the previous edition. Only Yemen – the world’s worst country for women – experienced major deterioration. Yemen is joined by Afghanistan, Syria, Pakistan and South Sudan in the bottom five.

best countries for women 2019 map
GIWPS The best countries for women 2019

World’s best countries for women: ranking

The ranking below reflects the average of each country’s scores across all 11 metrics. All countries are ranked on a 0-1 scale. The highest possible score is 1 (equality) and the lowest possible score is 0 (inequality).

RankCountryWPS Index value
1Norway0.904
2Switzerland0.893
3Finland0.891
3Denmark0.891
5Iceland0.888
6Austria0.884
7United Kingdom0.883
8Luxembourg0.880
9Sweden0.879
9Netherlands0.879
11Canada0.876
12Estonia0.873
13Slovenia0.872
14New Zealand0.869
15Spain0.860
16Ireland0.858
17Germany0.856
17Portugal0.856
19United States of America0.851
20France0.847
21Latvia0.845
22Australia0.844
23Singapore0.843
24Serbia0.839
25Poland0.838
26Lithuania0.835
27Belgium0.827
28Italy0.826
29Japan0.823
30Czech Republic0.820
31Cyprus0.819
32Croatia0.818
33South Korea0.816
34Israel0.815
35Slovakia0.813
36Malta0.807
37North Macedonia0.806
38Belarus0.804
39Bulgaria0.801
40Montenegro0.791
41Trinidad and Tobago0.788
42Jamaica0.787
43Kazakhstan0.786
44United Arab Emirates0.781
45Costa Rica0.779
46Georgia0.777
47Mongolia0.776
48Argentina0.775
49Ecuador0.772
49Hungary0.772
51Greece0.770
51Russian Federation0.770
53Romania0.767
54Bolivia0.765
55Chile0.764
56Bosnia and Herzegovina0.760
57Albania0.759
58Fiji0.757
58Uruguay0.757
60Turkmenistan0.752
60Mauritius0.752
62Namibia0.748
63Suriname0.744
64Moldova0.743
65Rwanda0.743
66Guyana0.741
66South Africa0.741
68Paraguay0.738
69Peru0.735
70Hong Kong, SAR China0.731
70Panama0.731
72Qatar0.730
73Malaysia0.729
74Dominican Republic0.726
74Zimbabwe0.726
76El Salvador0.725
76China0.725
78Lao PDR0.724
78Ghana0.724
80Timor-Leste0.721
80Kyrgyzstan0.721
82Armenia0.720
83Bahrain0.719
84Venezuela0.717
84Nepal0.717
86Belize0.716
87Barbados0.715
88Nicaragua0.712
89Uzbekistan0.710
90Philippines0.709
91Honduras0.708
92Viet Nam0.707
92Thailand0.707
94Tanzania0.704
95Indonesia0.703
96Kuwait0.701
96Tajikistan0.701
98Brazil0.700
98Cabo Verde0.700
98Kenya0.700
101Solomon Islands0.695
102Cambodia0.694
103Mexico0.693
104Colombia0.691
105Ukraine0.689
106Guatemala0.680
107Sri Lanka0.679
107Zambia0.679
109Uganda0.678
110Mozambique0.675
111Maldives0.671
112Botswana0.667
113Togo0.665
114Turkey0.661
114Senegal0.661
116Benin0.659
117Papua New Guinea0.658
118Iran0.657
118Bhutan0.657
120Saudi Arabia0.655
121Tunisia0.651
121Ethiopia0.651
123Azerbaijan0.650
124Gabon0.647
125Lesotho0.641
126Gambia0.638
127São Tomé and Príncipe0.634
128Comoros0.632
129Jordan0.629
130Angola0.626
130Equatorial Guinea0.626
130Malawi0.626
133Morocco0.625
133India0.625
133Guinea0.625
136Burkina Faso0.622
136Madagascar0.622
138Côte d'Ivoire0.617
139Burundi0.616
140Haiti0.613
140Eswatini0.613
142Bangladesh0.612
143Algeria0.611
144Liberia0.608
145Djibouti0.604
145Nigeria0.604
147Lebanon0.599
148Cameroon0.597
149Congo0.593
150Myanmar0.587
151Egypt0.583
151Mauritania0.583
153Sierra Leone0.578
154Somalia0.564
155Niger0.554
156Chad0.553
157Sudan0.547
158Libya0.546
159Mali0.539
160Central African Republic0.513
161Congo, Dem. Rep.0.512
162Iraq0.490
163South Sudan0.479
164Pakistan0.460
165Syria0.416
166Afghanistan0.373
167Yemen0.351

The full report can be downloaded here.


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