What are the best and worst places in the world to be a woman?
According to a new TrustLaw poll of twenty countries, India ranks the lowest (just behind Saudi Arabia and Indonesia), while Canada is a model for gender equality:
"Policies that promote gender equality, safeguards against violence and exploitation and access to healthcare make Canada the best place to be a woman among the world’s biggest economies, while infanticide, child marriage and slavery make India the worst, the survey showed.
The rankings were of the G20 countries including the United States, Indonesia, China, and Mexico, whose leaders are participating in the summit. The G20 meeting, in Mexico this year, brings together the heads of, yes, twenty countries with the most "significant economies" to dialogue on financial sustainability worldwide. It's meant to be an informal discussion. However, given the fact that other summits with similar goals are happening soon as well (Rio+20, anyone?) it presents a perfect opportunity for the media and others to delve into the current conditions in each of the participating countries--from gender issues to environmental ones--to understand how all of these issues from the economy to access to health care can either build barriers for women and girls or help break those barriers down.
The poll asked respondents to rank the countries based on seven categories including quality of health care, access to resources (including land and education), and freedom from violence.
From dying during childbirth to child marriage, Indian women and girls face devastating challenges. The challenges belie a deep inequity which the poll uncovers in many of the bottom countries, including the United States.
“India is incredibly poor, Saudi Arabia is very rich. But there is a commonality and that is that unless you have some special access to privilege, you have a very different future, depending on whether you have an extra X chromosome, or a Y chromosome,” said Nicholas Kristof, journalist and co-author of "Half the Sky: Turning Oppression into Opportunity for Women Worldwide", commenting on the poll results.
“For too many women in too many countries, basic rights remain a luxury and even in some of the most developed economies women are often considered second rate citizens,” said Monique Villa, Thomson Reuters Foundation CEO. “This poll also shows that laws and treaties on women’s rights often don’t reflect the reality on the ground.”
Read more here.