The best region of the world to be a woman? Scandinavia. The worst? Central Africa.
That’s the takeaway from a study just released by Equal Measures 2030, a U.K.-based NGO that collects data on gender equality with support from the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation and other private-sector organizations. The “2030” in the group’s name refers to its stated goal of ensuring that world governments deliver on their promises for gender equality by that year.
EM2030’s 2019 SDG [Sustainable Development Goals] Gender Index covers 129 countries around the globe, assessing numerous factors, including gender budgeting and public services, equal representation in powerful positions, gender pay gaps, and gender-based violence. By the study’s standards, some 40% of the world’s girls and women – 1.4 billion of them – live in countries failing on gender equality, while another 1.4 billion live in countries that “barely pass.”
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No country achieves a perfect 100 score according to EM2030’s ranking. First place is held by Denmark, with a score of 89.3. Other countries with scores of 85 or above are, in descending order, Finland, Sweden, Norway, The Netherlands, Slovenia, Germany, Canada, Ireland, Australia, New Zealand, and Switzerland. (A World Economic Forum report, however, includes Finland among even the best countries for working women that still don’t pay them fairly.)
The United States ranks at number 28, tied with Bulgaria with a score of 77.6 – a score that is considered lower than expected for the U.S., considering the country’s income level, according to the report. These are the worst paying jobs for women in the United States.
The lowest score goes to the central African state of Chad, with a score of 33.4. Only slightly better is another central African country, the Democratic Republic of Congo, with 38.2 points.
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The 15 lowest-ranking countries overall are all in Africa, with the exception of the fourth-worst, Yemen. One anomaly is Rwanda. Though it’s far down the list at number 91, with a score of 58.1, it’s rated the fifth-best country in the world in terms of physical safety for women, and won first place last year in the World Economic Forum’s ranking of countries with the highest rates of working women.
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