Where’s life best for women?

14 October 2011 | This 'n' that

Ice, lava & quality life for women: Iceland. Photo: Soila Lehtonen

In Iceland.

The Daily Beast – the online home of Newsweek Magazine – has compiled the rankings of the best and worst countries for women to live in. 165 countries were analysed by using five factors – justice, health, education, economics and politics – and awarding scores of 0 to 100.

Each category included between four and ten data points, depending on the reliable data points available. The results, published last month, show that for a woman Iceland is the best place: overall score was 100.0. Second was Sweden (99.2), third Canada (96.6), fourth Denmark (95.3) and fifth Finland (92.8). The next five were Switzerland, Norway, USA, Australia and the Netherlands.

The final ranking is based on how much better or worse a country is for women when measured against the average level of women’s rights for all 165 countries – of which the worst three are Yemen, Afghanistan and Chad.

Some progress seems to have been going on in the world lately; in politics women have become more visible. They will now even be allowed to vote in Saudi Arabia. (But there women are still not able to leave the country or work without a permission from a male relative – or drive a car.)

Iceland’s current prime minister is Johanna Sigurdardottir; the country’s score points for politics is 92.8, whereas Finland’s is 100.0.

However, justice and economics do not score as high in Finland as in Iceland. ‘Prevalence of intimate partner physical and sexual violence’ may cause the loss of points in the former case, and ‘women’s wages as a percentage of men’s’ in the latter.

Finland is the only country on the list with 100.0 points in politics: currently the president, 84 of the 200 members of the parliament and nine ministers out of 19 are women. So, it might be quite possible that women will make Finland climb up towards the top of the mountain – or rather, volcano?

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