The 20 best countries to live in if you're a woman
Denmark is the best country in the world to live in for women this year, according to a new ranking from U.S. News & World Report— and last year's winner, Sweden, is close behind.
The Best Countries for Women list is based on the survey responses of more than 9,000 women. The ranking takes into account five equally-weighted attributes: gender equality, safety, progress,income equality, and care about human rights.
Check out this year's top 20 countries in the world for women below.
As of April 2015, 34.8% of women were represented in parliament. However, their gender pay gapstill persists, as Portugal only ranks 33rd of 144 countries in the 2017 Global Gender Gap Report.
The Italian Constitution of 1948 legally affirmed that women had equal rights to men, and in 2017, an Italian state-owned broadcaster's show was canceled for promoting sexist views against women. However, Italy ranks 82nd out of 144 countries for equal opportunities at work and in politics, education, and health.
During Spain's Franco era from 1939 to 1975, women's right were severely restricted: abortion, divorce, and contraception were all prohibited. Now, women in Spain openly lobby for the eradication of gender-specific violence and the abolishment of the gender-pay gap.
Following the end of World War II, Japanese women have been legally recognized as having equal rights to men. The country is beginning to consciously invest in and empower women in the workforce.
16. United States
According to data compiled by the Inter-Parliamentary Union, the US only ranks 100th in the world for women's representation in government, despite females making up more than half of the country's population.
According to a 2015 publication by the European Commission's Education and Training Monitor, more women go on to third level education in Ireland than men (58.6% to 45.1%, respectively), but women also face more barriers when returning to education after giving birth, as full-time childcare is both expensive and limited in Ireland.
France ranked highly in human rights and international alliances, and boasts one of the strongest economies and influential cultures in the world.
13. United Kingdom
The United Kingdom ranked high in global connectivity and cultural prestige, but still has strides to make in terms of pay parity.
Even though Austria is not currently a member of the UN Commission on the Status of Women(CSW), the country played a leading role in bringing the convention on preventing and combating violence against women and domestic violence (the so-called Istanbul Convention) to fruition.
Luxembourg ran an initiative entitled "Would politics suit you madam?" in a bid to raise public awareness about the low representation of women in political office, and to empower women to run before the 2017 municipal elections.
Germany nabbed a perfect score in entrepreneurship, and Angela Merkel currently serves as the country's first woman chancellor — she's been in office since 2005.
9. New Zealand
In 1893, New Zealand became the first self-governing country in the world in which all women legally had the right to vote in parliamentary elections — now, 2018 is a historical year for New Zealand as it marks the country's 125th anniversary of women's suffrage.
Not only did Australia make important progress when the country legalized same-sex marriage in 2017, the country also boasts a high life expectancy for both women and men.
Switzerland holds the number one ranking on the U.S. News & World Report's Best Countries list, and outstrips many countries in terms of trustworthiness, environmentalism, human rights, education, public health, and economic stability.
Finance Minister Bill Morneau's 2018 federal spending plan — which is entitled "Equality + Growth, A Strong Middle Class" — aims to empower women and invest in them as essential proponents in the country's work force.
Most Nordic countries are outspoken champions of women's rights, and Finland is no exception: the country ranked 3rd of 144 countries in the 2017 Global Gender Gap Report, its parental leave policies are exemplary, and its Act on Equality between Women and Men literally exists to sanctify the basic tenants of equality between all genders in every aspect of life.
4. The Netherlands
The Netherlands has long been a pioneering country for gender equality; its emancipation policy of 1978 ensured that parental leave, care, income, power, decision, education, and salaries remained equal between men and women, and in 2011 they instituted their "LGBT and Gender Equality Policy Plan" to legally advocate LGBT and all-inclusive gender equality.
Norway earned a perfect score in overall citizenship, and ranks 2nd of 144 countries in the 2017 Global Gender Gap Report. The country has even been called "a haven for gender equality." Norwegian political parties even introduced voluntary gender quotas way back in the 1970s.
Since the ranking's inception, Sweden has never finished lower than fifth in the Gender Gap rankings. Nearly two-thirds of all university degrees in Sweden are awarded to women, its policies regarding parental leave are flexible (and expand to spouses), and government-run bodies such as the Secretariat of Gender Research serve only to enshrine the values of equality across all platforms.
Denmark's progressive government and societal structure enables its citizens to socially mobilize across multiple arenas; women and men both enjoy access to mostly free medical care, and higher education is also free. Additionally, the country is home to a new intersectional party called Feministisk Initiativ.