After reading and hearing about so many gruesome incidents happening with women around us, we are left to question ourselves if there is any place on this Earth that being born a woman won’t be a nightmare.
Before we read about these wonderful top five places where it would be amazing to be born a woman, we would first see a list of the five most dangerous places to be born a woman. The list of five most dangerous countries for a woman is based on instances of gender quality and crimes committed against women.
Life of an Afghan woman is a constant struggle since the day of her birth. Nearly eighty-seven percent of the women are left illiterate and almost eighty percent are forced into arranged marriages. More than fifty percent of these girls are aged between 15-19 years, as per the UNICEF statistics. There are very high cases of domestic violence and one woman dies in every 250 child births. Women who muster the courage to speak out are either intimidated or murdered.
The Democratic Republic of Congo
Congo suffers from the worst gender based violence ratio. About 1,152 women are raped every day in Congo i.e. 48 per hour, hence adding up to around 420,000 in a year. Congo is still suffering from the 1998-2003 war which killed 5.4 million people and as a secondary disaster, sexual violence came into being, especially in the east. During the war, rape was used as a weapon and the female soldiers were forced into sex slavery. This inhumanity stuck with the state and continues like an epidemic. More than fifty five percent of the pregnant women reportedly suffer from anemia and the health services are highly inadequate for the female gender.
The Muslim state is ranked third in this list mainly because of cultural, religious and tribal practices which harm women. Women suffer from acid attacks, child marriage, and forced marriage, punishment by stoning and other kinds of physical abuse. According to the Pakistan’s Human Rights Commission, more than one thousand women and girls die in honour killings every year and more than ninety percent of the female population suffers from domestic violence.
The world’s biggest “democracy” likes staying in the headlines for gang rapes, hangings, female feticide, trafficking and many other crimes against women. India has been repeatedly warned against human trafficking by the US. Research estimates that there have been more than fifty million cases of female feticide over the last thirty years. If a girl survives her birth, she is either suffers from child marriage or is killed for dowry. A high level of trafficking lingers like a cold shadow over the female inhabitants of the nation.
The country has been characterized as a nation that lacks law and order. Along with an extremely high rate of maternal mortality; rape, female genital mutilation and child marriage are the daily concerns of a female citizen in Somalia, food and shelter are a very distant priority. It might sound unbelievable but about ninety-five percent of women face female genital mutilation and usually they are of the ages four to eleven. Only, eleven percent of women are able to give birth in a healthy environment.
These are only the names of the five worst countries for being a woman, there are many more. But, without taking any more glum turns, let us take a look at the five most wonderful countries to be a woman. This list is based on gender equality, health, economics and politics.
Iceland has topped this list, five times. The country has the least gender gap with more than 15 women for 10 men in post-secondary education. Women here can choose to work in which ever profession they like, be it a pilot or a cop. In-fact, women make the majority of highly skilled work force. Women have greater access to education (100% literacy for women) and health compared to other countries. The country ranks first in economic and political empowerment for women (nearly 43% of the members of parliament are women and 18 out of 50 past head of state were women).
All Nordic countries have consistently topped this list and thus, Finland follows Iceland. It is only second to Iceland in gender equality. The country boasts of 100% female literacy and the best health facilities for women in the world. Only one in 12,000 women die due to maternal causes in Finland and only one in 345 children die before they are five. Gender equality is a basic value, preserved in the daily life of the people. There are four different bodies which work 24*7 to promote gender equality. There are 263 days of full paternal leave with public childcare services and state funded school meals. What is even more interesting is that the 32% of the students taking mathematics and computers in the Universities there are women.
It is the first country to pass the gender equality bill, in the 1970s, and even appointed an ombudsman to enforce the law in politics, home and business world too. 40% of the parliamentary members are women (there are quotas for both genders). Beside maternity leave, fathers are given 12 weeks paternity leave, whenever they want and this is not all, every citizen has access to the state’s top state nurseries.
This country has the highest percentage of women parliamentary members- 44.7%. It is one of the most equal societies in the world. Sweden and Iceland are termed by UN as one of the most “exemplary countries” because of gender equality. The country boasts of more than 75% population of working women. The women here offer about 60% of the national income through foreign trade. Men and women can share maternity leave, which is an astounding total of 69 weeks. There are state subsidized schools and special protection rights for even the part-time employees. Beside this, like Finland, the state has ministries to make sure of gender equality.
The only country from the Asia-Pacific region to reach the top 10 list (obviously, we are talking about only the top 5). This was the first country to give voting rights to women in 1893 i.e. much-much before UK. In the magical year-2000 the five top leaders of the New Zealand constitution- the Queen, Governor, PM, Speaker and President of the Supreme court- were all women. New Zealand ranks number 6th in terms of gender equality. It has one of the highest female parliamentary members among the developed nations. Again, these are only the names of the five best countries for being a woman, there are many more.