New Report Says The U.S. Isn’t The Best Place For Women To Live — And It’s Right
2:00 pm, July 7th | by Amy Tennery
Think the good old USA is the best place to live if you’re a woman? A new report says you may be wrong.
Okay, first let’s back up. Ranking which countries are “best” and “worst” for women is a bit of a fool’s errand. There will always be an element of subjectivity to it and hard numbers and data can’t always paint an accurate picture of what life is like on the ground. Sure, the employment opportunities for women in Sweden might be great — but maybe Sweden also has a massive Andrew Dice Clay fan base. You never know.
This being said, a new report based on the State of the World’s Mothers survey from non-profit Save The Children, comes as close as you really could to capturing an accurate look at which countries are best (and worst) for women. And, disturbingly, the U.S. doesn’t rank so high.
A new survey from the National Post (which we found over at Co.Exist) ranks all the countries of the world based on their female-friendliness. Countries are broken down by “more developed,” “less developed” and “least developed.” And some of the categories by which each country is ranked are, honestly, a little unorthodox. Nations in this report are measured by the percent of their female populations report using “modern contraception,” their life expectancy at birth, the number of years they’re expected to attend school, the percentage of government seats held by women and the ratio of female income to male earned income. In short, the survey shows where women have power.
In a sense, this chart (and the State of the World’s Mothers report it’s based off of) is editorializing — which is a big reason it works so well. It says that women’s access to contraception, their education and the power that they have after they’ve finished school matter. This is the kind of stuff we should be ranking.
So, who came out on top? Among the “more developed” nations it was, not surprisingly, Norway, with its massively impressive life expectancy, solid access to contraception and gender-diverse government. Among the “less developed” category, Israel came out on top, while Bhutan dominated the “least developed” category.
And where was the U.S. in all this? We ranked 19th among “most developed” nations. This was do in no small part to the fact that just 17 percent of government seats are held by women (compared to Norway’s 40 percent). Ouch.
Is the ranking perfect? Of course not. Denoting one country as “developed” and another as “less developed” is incredibly problematic in and of itself. And my idea of what qualifies as “woman-friendly” might be different from someone else’s. Still, I’d argue this report is well worth checking out.