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European countries score highest on the global Women Peace and Security Index

European countries score highest on the global Women Peace and Security Index

Nordic countries provide the best living conditions for women

Last week, the Peace Research Institute Oslo (PRIO) and Georgetown University’s Institute for Women, Peace and Security (GIWPS) revealed which countries are the world’s best and worst for women to live in. More specifically, it published its third edition of the Women Peace and Security (WPS) Index.

The 2021/2022 index evaluates the levels of women’s inclusion, justice, and security in 170 countries. Taking this further, it does so by breaking them down into a total of 11 indicators:

  • Inclusion: Education, Financial Inclusion, Employment, Cellphone Use, and Parliamentary Representation;
  • Justice: Absence of legal discrimination, Son Bias, and Discriminatory Norms;
  • Security: Intimate Partner Violence, Community Safety, and Organised Violence.

Which are the world’s best countries for women?

This year, European countries ranked at the top of the WPS Index, with Nordic countries taking the top 4 spots. Sharing the world’s best places for women to live in, the authors of the index revealed the top 10 highest-scoring countries:

  1. Norway
  2. Finland
  3. Iceland
  4. Denmark
  5. Luxembourg
  6. Switzerland
  7. Sweden
  8. Austria
  9. United Kingdom
  10. Netherlands

As the results indicate, Nordic countries offer the best conditions for women in terms of inclusion, justice, and security. Expanding on this, the report’s authors write that the countries’ high achievements can be traced to public policies that promote a dual-earner model. Beyond this, Nordic nations offer parental leave for both mothers and fathers and state-sponsored childcare. As such, the gender gaps in workforce participation are smaller than in other countries.

COVID’s impact

It is not surprising that the events of the past year and a half have had an impact on the living conditions of women. According to the authors, the pandemic has significantly slowed the global pace of improvement. What is more, it has resulted in wider disparities across countries and a rise in inequalities.

Taking a case in point, the world’s worst place for women to live in was found to be Afghanistan. This year, the lowest-scoring country performed three times worse than the highest-scoring. In the first edition of the WPS Index (2017), the difference between the two was significantly smaller, with the best-performing country scoring only two times better than the lowest.

Thus, the widening gap reflects that the pandemic has resulted in a rise in inequality, where the top countries continue to improve while those at the bottom worsen.  

To view the rankings of all 170 countries, view the WPS Index report on the GIWPS’ website.

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