America drops from 17th to 22nd place in world's top countries for women… thanks to poor life expectancy, wage inequality, and a lack of female empowerment
22:20 GMT, 8 November 2012
Last year, the U.S. ranked 17th, just behind the UK and slightly ahead of Canada in the world's top places to live for women.
Now, America sits at just 22nd best, behind Canada and one place ahead of Mozambique.
According to the 2012 Global Gender Gap Report, released by the World Economic Forum, the U.S. was judged on its education, wage equality, health care, mortality rates and political empowerment, which were so poorly performing the country was dropped five places.
Gender gap: America sits at just 22nd, behind Canada and one place ahead of Mozambique in the world's 25 top places to live for women
Unsurprisingly, several Scandinavian nations, which have a
well-documented history of valuing social welfare and gender equality continue to rank at the top of the World Economic Forum's index.
This year Iceland came out on top, followed by Finland, Norway, Sweden and Ireland. New Zealand ranked 6th.
Gender equality in the U.S. has been a national focus over the past few months, mainly because of the 2012 presidential election.
THE WORLD'S TOP 25 COUNTRIES FOR WOMEN:
6. New Zealand
16. South Africa
18. United Kingdom
22. United States
During the final presidential debate last
month, Mitt Romney famously discussed the 'binders full of women' he
tried to hire when he was governor of Massachusetts, meanwhile President
Barack Obama spoke about the importance of 'protecting women's rights'
around the world.
During his campaign, Mr Romney pledged to
appoint Supreme Court justices who would overturn Roe v. Wade, and said
he would issue an executive order to reinstate a ban on U.S. foreign
money being used to pay for abortions in countries that receive the
Obviously, there were many women voters
who had reservations about his candidacy – perhaps contributing to this
year's poor U.S. ranking.
The report ranks 135 countries, which containing over 90per cent of the world's population and is based on 14 indicators used to measure the size of a nation's gender gap in four key areas.
The first is economic participation and opportunity, which includes female labor force participation, wage equality and the percentage of women in high-ranking jobs.
Secondly, educational attainment is taken into account; looking at female literacy and how frequently women are enrolled in higher education.
Health and survival plays a large factor, which is measured by comparing female and male life expectancy and mortality rates.
And lastly, political empowerment examines the number of women holding office as well as the number of female heads of state during the last 50 years.
Iceland first place: In the a rank of the top 25 countries for women, Iceland came out on top, followed by Finland, Norway, Sweden and Ireland.
Each country is given a score between
zero, for total inequality, and one, for total equality, in each of the
14 sections. These scores are then averaged to determine a nation's
final score and its ranking.
Last year, the U.S. had a score of .7412. This year, amid much talk about women's rights and gender equality, America was given a score of .7373 – its lowest since 2009.
The Global Gender Gap Index, which was developed in 2006, wrote in this year's report: 'No country in the world has achieved gender equality. The four highest ranked countries – Iceland, Finland, Norway and Sweden – have closed between 80per cent and 86per cent of their gender gaps, while the lowest ranked country – Yemen – has closed a little over half of its gender gap.