Some countries seem to appreciate their women more than others. Here are some of the best countries to live and work in if you're a woman.
Women have come a long way from being confined within the walls of their homes to sitting on boards of various companies. And we owe this progress to all the laws made to protect us and the benefits that encourage us.
While a lot of people talk about creating the ideal environment for women to live, work and thrive in, very few have managed to turn these situations into a reality. This small number has some countries that have taken various steps to achieve gender equality and have made these places as ideal as possible for women to live and work.
Popularly known as the ‘land of a thousand lakes’, Finland has been known to be a women-friendly country since the 1800s when Finnish women spread awareness about women’s education. Later, the country went on to become the first to uphold women’s right to vote.
No wonder, Tarja Halonen – Finland’s first female president – governed the country for 12 years (till 2012). This country ranked 3rd in World Economic Forum’s (WEF) Global Gender Gap Index, which measures the gap between men and women across four pillars —education, health, workplace and political representation of women.
If you love living in coastal regions, you’ll definitely like the Netherlands. But that isn’t the only reason that makes this a wonderful country to live in.
This country provides care for every new-born baby and its mother. In the Netherlands, after a woman gives birth, she has a maternity nurse visiting her for 3 to 8 hours a day. This benefit is available to all new mothers for 8 to 10 days after delivering their babies. These nurses also provide basic training to women on how to hold the baby, how to breastfeed etc. Health insurance covers a part or the entire cost of this benefit.
The measures that the country has taken to narrow the gender gap has earned the Netherlands the 16th rank in WEF’s Global Gender Gap Index.
For every man there are 1.5 women enrolled in Norway’s universities. This Nordic country is also of the few countries to have a female head of the state or government for as long as 10 years.
Norway’s progressive policies make it a women-friendly place, ranking 3rd on WEF’s Global Gender Gap Report. For example, it provides a maternity leave of 35 weeks with full pay or 45 weeks with 80% pay.
Sweden has held its position as one of the best countries for women, for many years now. The credit goes to the country’s positive gender dynamics.
Women’s employment rate in Sweden almost equals that of men – highest in the whole European Union. What’s more? Sweden also boasts of the highest life expectancy of 82 years. It ranks 4th, after Norway, in WEF’s Global Gender Gap Report.
Retired women living in Denmark are the happiest, says a US News and World report. Apart from providing virtually-free healthcare and an education system, Denmark is also known for its flexible parental leave policy. Moreover, it also provides an earnings-related daycare, where the government pays three-quarters of the cost.
Denmark ranks 14th in WEF’s Global Gender Gap Report.
Education is a significant factor in Canada. Hence, it’s no surprise that around 70% of university graduates in Canada are women. While all the women in this country have access to contraception, almost 75% women aged between 15 and 49 use it.
Canada has made protecting women's rights an integral part of both, it's domestic as well as foreign policies. In 2016, Canada ranked 3rd among countries with the best human rights.
These countries show that a world where women have the same rights and opportunities as men are not just a far-fetched idea, but a reality. Let’s only hope that other countries get inspired by these to ensure better living and working conditions for their own women.