Georgianna Dolan-Reilly, LMSW

Georgianna Dolan-Reilly, LMSW

Social Justice Solutions | Staff Writer
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The Best and Worst Countries for Women

Each year, the World Economic Forum publishes a report titled the Global Gender Gap Report. The Huffington Post discusses this Report as ranking “135 countries (which collectively contain over 90 percent of the world’s population) based on 14 indicators used to measure the size of a nation’s gender gap in four key areas:

1. Economic participation and opportunity, which includes female labor force participation, wage equality and the percentage of women in high-ranking jobs.
2. Educational attainment, which looks at female literacy and how frequently women are enrolled in higher education.
3. Health and survival, which is measured by comparing female and male life expectancy and mortality rates.
4. Political empowerment, which examines the number of women holding political office as well as the number of female heads of state over the last 50 years.

The report gives each country a score between 0 (total inequality) and 1 (total equality) for each of the 14 indicators, then averages these scores to determine a nation’s final score and thus, its ranking.”

Where do you expect the United States and Canada to fall on this list? Are they with in the top 10? Top 20? Interestingly,  they are typically rather near each other for the past several years and this year rank as 21 (Canada) and 22 (United States), with Canada scoring only .0008 points better. Unfortunately, both nations have dropped in ranking since last year, where the USA was 17th and Canada was 18th.

While we come in 22nd overall the USA ties many other countries for 1st place in educational equality. Although I cannot see where we have ranked in the past with this, I feel this is a right step in the direction of improving economic, health and political equality as well as this potentially means more education, jobs, access to health care, and women in power positions (which unfortunately is our lowest rank at 55).

It is interesting to see women’s right’s broken down in such a concise and measurable manner, and the differences defined so clearly. You could say that .0008 points is nothing, but on this scale .3 points is the difference between countries who deny almost all Women’s rights we take for granted in North America (many Muslim Nations) and a country which has a progressive view of improving women’s rights with almost every policy (many Nordic and Scandinavian countries). This is why I find this list so striking, and so relevant to the area of macro and micro social work.

You can view the entire report here.


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