These Are The Best And Worst Countries To Be A Woman, According To Research


Woman in front of city


Haley Millan via Working Mother
Haley Millan via Working Mother
April 23, 2024 at 4:47AM UTC
Get ready to pack your bags. Researchers just released a report ranking 153 countries across the globe on their treatment of women, and the United States is not ranked in the top 10.
Titled the Women Peace and Security Index, the research was conducted by the Peace Research Institute Oslo and the Georgetown Institute for Women, Peace and Security (GIWPS). To determine how women are faring in each country, the index measured inclusion, such as education and employment; justice in terms of laws and discrimination; and security in terms of family and community violence. One important measure, for example, was cell phone use, since access to cell phones provides autonomy, self-confidence, safety and access to markets and job opportunities, the report states.
“The condition of women and the denial of their rights is certainly an early indicator of future instability and conflict in a country,” Melanne Verveer, GIWPS executive director, told the Thomson Reuters Foundation in an interview. “If women are beat down, if their security situation is grim and deteriorating, if they are enormously marginalized, that is not a situation that is going to bode well for the country,” she said.
Scandinavian countries topped the list, and Middle Eastern and North African ones scored lowest.
The highest-ranked are:
  • No. 1 Iceland
  • No. 2 Norway
  • No. 3 Switzerland
  • No. 4 Slovenia
  • No. 5 Spain
  • No. 6 Finland
  • No. 7 Canada, Sweden and Netherlands
  • No. 10 Denmark, Belgium and Singapore
  • No. 12 Germany and the U.K.
On the other end of the spectrum, the lowest are:
  • No. 152 Syria and Afghanistan
  • No. 151 Yemen
  • No. 150 Pakistan
  • No. 149 Central African Republic
  • No. 148 Democratic Republic of Congo
  • No. 147 Iraq
  • No. 146 Mali
  • No. 145 Sudan
  • No. 144 Niger
  • No. 143 Lebanon
  • No. 142 Cameroon
  • No. 141 Chad
So where did the U.S. come in? At a measly Number 22. Researchers attributed the lower ranking to the fact that the U.S. has no legal mandate for equal pay, no legally guaranteed paid maternity leave and a “unique crisis of lethal violence” due to the widespread availability of guns. When a gun is present in cases of domestic violence, the likelihood of homicide increases five times.
According to the index, progress is "dramatically uneven" in many countries. For example, South African women have increased access to education and political representation, but face a high likelihood of violence at home and in the streets.
The index is intended to promote the United Nation's Sustainable Development Goals, an agenda aiming to achieve universal education and an end to discrimination, conflict and poverty by 2030. Researchers plan on updating the index every two years.
This article originally appeared on

Why women love us:

  • Daily articles on career topics
  • Jobs at companies dedicated to hiring more women
  • Advice and support from an authentic community
  • Events that help you level up in your career
  • Free membership, always