Coincidentally, The Best Countries For Women Are A Bit Chilly


A new ranking by Newsweek/Daily Beast reveals which countries are the best and worst places for women to live. Using data from 165 countries, they based their rankings on five categories: "treatment under the law, workforce participation, political power, and access to education and health care." And without further ado, here are the world's best places for ladies:

1. Iceland
2. Sweden
3. Canada
4. Denmark
5. Finland
6. Switzerland
7. Norway
8. United States
9. Australia
10. Netherlands

Surprise, surprise. All of these countries are pretty much already known to be great places to live; so it makes sense that women would enjoy them too. As the Daily Beast explains,

"Countries with the highest scores tend to be clustered in the West, where gender discrimination is against the law, and equal rights are constitutionally enshrined."

Of course, for every great place to live there is an equal and opposite terrible place to live, and according to this ranking, Africa and parts of Asia aren't the safest bet for women. Chad is ranked the worst of the worst, followed closely by places like Afghanistan, Yemen, and the Democratic Republic of the Congo. In case you were wondering why Chad is so bad: "Women have almost no legal rights, and many marriages are arranged when girls are 11 or 12." Indeed, that sounds horrible, especially when compared to number one Iceland, which "has long protected women's rights and has a government agency to keep tabs."

What consequence does all of this have for the world as a whole? Can we conclude that women are better off when it's freezing outside? Kind of, but it's not that simple.

It is perhaps no coincidence that the above list correlates almost exactly to the list of the top ten happiest countries put out by Forbes. Even though the Forbes countries are in a slightly different order (and Iceland is traded for New Zealand), we can safely conclude that the happier and more prosperous a population, the happier and more prosperous its women are. Or maybe it's the other way around. As Secretary of State Hillary Clinton recently said,

"There is a stimulative and ripple effect that kicks in when women have greater access to jobs and the economic lives of our countries: Greater political stability. Fewer military conflicts. More food. More educational opportunity for children. By harnessing the economic potential of all women, we boost opportunity for all people."

It must be true what they say: what's good for the goose is good for the gander.

The Best and Worst Places for Women [Newsweek/Daily Beast]