A new study has revealed which countries in the world are the best places for women to live – and which ones are the worst.
The OECD Development Center‘s Social Institutions and Gender Index 2014 shows which countries have focussed on improving gender equality and are delivering results for women within their borders.
The Gender Index also shows which countries are still failing women and girls abysmally.
The best…and the worst
The Index collated data from 160 countries, tracking measures such as the age girls can legally marry, the level of bias towards sons, laws against domestic violence and rape, and female access to financial services.
The best performing places on the Gender Index scale included Belgium, Serbia, France and Italy. All these governments have placed a comparatively higher premium on “women’s rights within the family, freedom from violence, access to resources, as well as civil and political rights.” They have also legislated against gender-based violence and prioritised increased female political representation.
These steps have been important in encouraging–and enabling– women to take advantage of empowerment opportunities.
Conversely, the worst performing regions, Chad, Mali, Gambia and Yemen, still enforce many patriarchal family codes. These assign unequal inheritance rights to girls, identify the man as the head of the household, do not recognise female parental authority and do not allow women to initiate divorce.
Globally, the Index shows that 30 per cent of females worldwide have faced domestic violence in their lives, ranging from 7% in Canada to almost 80% in Angola. Over 90 million women are currently reported missing around the world. In the 28 countries where female genital mutilation is a widespread practice, 47% of women and girls have been victims.
What are these countries doing right…and wrong?
The countries that ranked the best haven’t just spoken about gender equality. They have taken targeted measures to ensure female outcomes improve.