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Best and worst places to be a woman revealed

Kalila Sangster
Woman with letters "GRL PWR" written on her hand. Portrait of a woman with arm covering a part of her face.
Although no country garnered a perfect score, the global trends in women's empowerment are 'heading in the right direction'. Photo: Getty Images

Norway has been rated the best country in the world to be a woman, according to a new report.

The UK came in at number seven in a survey of 167 countries, while the US came in at number 19.

The Women, Peace and Security (WPS) Index, published on Tuesday by Georgetown University's Institute for Women, Peace and Security and the Peace Research Institute Oslo, looked at several factors such as employment, education, security, political representation, and discriminatory laws.

Yemen, the only country to experience “major deterioration,” received the lowest ranking, followed by Afghanistan, Syria, Pakistan, and South Sudan.

The dozen best and worst performers on the WPS Index.
The dozen best and worst performers on the WPS Index.

Norway came out on top, followed by Switzerland, Finland, Denmark, and Iceland.

Norway scored high in women’s education, safety, and employment, and received 100% in the area of financial inclusion.

The UK did well in most areas but ranked only in the middle range on women’s paid employment with 55.6% of women over 25 in paid employment.

READ MORE: Why women shouldn't be penalised for getting angry at work

‘Heading in the right direction’

The report reveals that employment is an area where many countries need improvement. Iceland is the only country in the top dozen to score highly in this area, beating top-ranked Norway.

However, the UK did score higher than any other developed economy in the area of legal discrimination.

The findings show that 90% percent of the world’s countries have one or more laws that discriminate against women but that 118 countries have taken steps to reduce legal discrimination since the last report in 2017.

Women in countries classed as “fragile and conflict-affected” are at the most risk especially in the area of security. While every country in the bottom dozen fits this description there are signs of progress. The report found: “Financial inclusion rose in the Democratic Republic of the Congo, Iraq, and Mali and women in Pakistan reported feeling safer walking in their community at night.”

The new report states: “The good news is that trends in women’s empowerment are heading in the right direction globally.” It highlighted higher levels of representation in government, improved independence and access to economic opportunities.

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