This year marks the 107th International Women’s Day, an annual event recognized by the United Nations that celebrates the progress women have made in society, politics and economics while also raising awareness of the gender inequality that still persists around the world today.
Recent momentum in the global activist effort for women’s equality with movements like #MeToo and #TimesUp continue to shed a light on the oppression women face, and act to empower women on a global scale to stand up and share their experiences. Although the gap between genders won’t close overnight, it’s encouraging to see movements that are pressing whole countries towards further progress.
In honor of today, we explored markets that are regarded as being “Best for Women” and best for gender equality through the lens of both women and men.
Done in partnership with US News & World Report and The Wharton School, our annual Best Countries report surveys over 21,000 people from around the world to better understand nations as brands. Besides overall ranking, Best Countries looks further into what makes a country “Best for Women”. Gender equality, income equality, being progressive, being safe, and caring about human rights are all important factors that come to mind when considering this.
According to our 2018 survey results, women identified the top 5 countries that are “Best for Women” as being all Nordic nations. Interestingly, so did men, with one slight difference – men included Canada as being in the top 5:
*red indicates the differing countries that either gender acknowledged as being “Best for Women”
However, when it comes to ranking which are the top 5 countries for gender equality, there’s no difference among the top 5 nations between women and men other than how they ranked them. Both genders agree that Nordic nations are the best:
This makes sense, as the Nordic nations have and continue to express the most forward thinking in regard to equality among the sexes. Nordic countries have excellent healthcare, education, and policies surrounding parental and maternity leave along with work life balance. They also have been the most historically progressive in women’s rights to vote, and more recently, requiring publicly listed companies to have equal representation of genders on their boards.
While it is great and encouraging to see that there are countries in the Nordic region that are reputable and known for being progressive and a lot closer to closing the gender gap, at the same time, many countries have room to grow and be better for women’s equality. By taking steps to improve education, policy, and awareness, along with changes in mindset, we will continue to see more progress towards gender equality.
Happy International Women’s Day!
Written by Christina Lu.