The U.S. doesn't always seem like the easiest place to be a lady, but a new report shows how we stack up against the world — and which countries are the best and worst for gender equality.
The report, released recently by the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development and covered in Fast Company, makes use of the group's Social Institutions and Gender Index. This index includes data on discriminatory economic and social institutions from 160 countries — laws covering domestic abuse and rape as well as inheritance rights and whether or not women have autonomy over their reproductive rights (although the data is only complete for 108 countries). Taken together, the report's categorical rankings provide an idea of how these countries compare in terms of gender-based discrimination.
Based on all of these dimensions, the report concludes that Belgium, France, Slovenia, Spain, and Serbia are the countries with the most female-friendly policies. According to the report, top-ranking Belgium has a legal framework in place to protect against gender-based violence. And, the country has seen an increased female presence in politics. But, even here, there are gender-based pay and occupation gaps.
On the other end of the spectrum, Chad, Mali, Gambia, Sudan, and Yemen ranked as the worst countries for women. The report says that Yemen is the worst overall performer, ranking particularly low (meaning more discriminatory or restrictive) in the categories of family code (e.g. no minimum legal marriage age) and civil liberties.
Unfortunately, the U.S. isn't ranked on the full list of countries, so we can't really see how we measure up. But, the report still lists the States as being "low" or "very low" on discrimination in most categories. However, we do get a "medium" ranking in the category of restricted civil liberties, which includes the level of political representation for women. And, there are many shades of nuance within our varied states. Overall, though, while we may not be the best, we're certainly not the worst.