The World Economic Forum (WEF) recently released their annual Global Gender Gap report including its ranking of the best countries for women in terms of gender equality.

The report assesses 145 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 by region

The Nordic states are consistently the best countries for women and have been so since the report was first produced in 2006. Ireland, ranking 5th, is the highest placed non-Nordic country. Rwanda (6th), Philippines (7th) and New Zealand (10th) are the only non-European countries in the top 10. Since 2014, the United States has fallen eight places to 28th.

The best countries for women in the Middle East and North Africa (MENA) are Israel (53rd) and Kuwait (117th). The MENA region is also home to the most unequal country in the index, Yemen, which is ranked 145th. The Philippines (7th) is the only Asian country in the top 50 while Sub-Saharan Africa boasts three countries in the top 20 of the index.

The report shows a narrowing of the gender gap over the last decade but also demonstrates that inequality stubbornly remains.

Ranking the best countries for women


The highest possible score is 1 (equality) and the lowest possible score is 0 (inequality).

RANK COUNTRY SCORE
1 Iceland 0.881
2 Norway 0.85
3 Finland 0.85
4 Sweden 0.823
5 Ireland 0.807
6 Rwanda 0.794
7 Philippines 0.79
8 Switzerland 0.785
9 Slovenia 0.784
10 New Zealand 0.782
11 Germany 0.779
12 Nicaragua 0.776
13 Netherlands 0.776
14 Denmark 0.767
15 France 0.761
16 Namibia 0.76
17 South Africa 0.759
18 United Kingdom 0.758
19 Belgium 0.753
20 Latvia 0.752
21 Estonia 0.749
22 Bolivia 0.749
23 Burundi 0.748
24 Barbados 0.744
25 Spain 0.742
26 Moldova 0.742
27 Mozambique 0.741
28 United States 0.74
29 Cuba 0.74
30 Canada 0.74
31 Lithuania 0.74
32 Luxembourg 0.738
33 Ecuador 0.738
34 Belarus 0.734
35 Argentina 0.734
36 Australia 0.733
37 Austria 0.733
38 Costa Rica 0.732
39 Portugal 0.731
40 Bahamas 0.728
41 Italy 0.726
42 Colombia 0.725
43 Bulgaria 0.722
44 Panama 0.722
45 Serbia 0.72
46 Trinidad and Tobago 0.72
47 Kazakhstan 0.719
48 Kenya 0.719
49 Tanzania 0.718
50 Cape Verde 0.717
51 Poland 0.715
52 Lao PDR 0.713
53 Israel 0.712
54 Singapore 0.711
55 Botswana 0.71
56 Mongolia 0.709
57 Zimbabwe 0.709
58 Uganda 0.708
59 Croatia 0.708
60 Thailand 0.706
61 Lesotho 0.706
62 El Salvador 0.706
63 Ghana 0.704
64 Bangladesh 0.704
65 Jamaica 0.703
66 Guyana 0.702
67 Ukraine 0.702
68 Malawi 0.701
69 Macedonia, FYR 0.701
70 Albania 0.701
71 Mexico 0.699
72 Senegal 0.698
73 Chile 0.698
75 Russian Federation 0.694
76 Kyrgyz Republic 0.693
77 Romania 0.693
78 Venezuela 0.691
79 Montenegro 0.689
80 Honduras 0.688
81 Czech Republic 0.687
82 Georgia 0.687
83 Vietnam 0.687
84 Sri Lanka 0.686
85 Brazil 0.686
86 Dominican Republic 0.686
87 Greece 0.685
88 Brunei Darussalam 0.684
89 Peru 0.683
90 Cameroon* 0.682
91 China 0.682
92 Indonesia 0.681
93 Uruguay 0.679
94 Suriname 0.678
95 Tajikistan 0.675
96 Azerbaijan 0.675
97 Slovak Republic 0.675
98 Gambia, The* 0.674
99 Hungary 0.672
100 Cyprus 0.671
101 Japan 0.67
102 Swaziland 0.67
103 Belize 0.668
104 Malta 0.668
105 Armenia 0.668
106 Guatemala 0.667
107 Paraguay 0.666
108 India 0.664
109 Cambodia 0.662
110 Nepal 0.658
111 Malaysia 0.655
112 Liberia 0.652
113 Maldives 0.652
114 Burkina Faso 0.651
115 Korea, Rep. 0.651
116 Zambia 0.65
117 Kuwait 0.646
118 Bhutan 0.646
119 United Arab Emirates 0.646
120 Mauritius 0.646
121 Fiji 0.645
122 Qatar 0.645
123 Bahrain 0.644
124 Ethiopia 0.64
125 Nigeria 0.638
126 Angola 0.637
127 Tunisia 0.634
128 Algeria 0.632
129 Benin* 0.625
130 Turkey 0.624
131 Guinea 0.618
132 Mauritania 0.613
133 Côte d’Ivoire 0.606
134 Saudi Arabia 0.605
135 Oman 0.604
136 Egypt 0.599
137 Mali 0.599
138 Lebanon 0.598
139 Morocco 0.593
140 Jordan 0.593
141 Iran, Islamic Rep. 0.58
142 Chad 0.58
143 Syria 0.568
144 Pakistan 0.559
145 Yemen 0.484

This article originally appeared on Atlas & Boots — Travel with Abandon and is republished here with permission.