What do Iceland, Finland, Norway and Sweden have in common, except for cold winters? These Nordic countries, of all nations in the world, have the smallest equality gap between men and women.
According to the World Economic Forum’s Global Gender Gap Index, Iceland is the best place for women when it comes to gender equality, a position it claimed from Norway, which now finds itself on the third place.
The annual report assesses countries on how equally they are dividing their resources and employment among men and women.
Two countries that performed well over the past year are South Africa and Lesotho, respectively South Africa on the sixth and tenth position respectively. The WFF, in a media release, said that South Africa in particular "made significant improvements in female labour force participation. Gains for women in parliament and women ministers in the new government also helped close the gender gap in the country."
South Africa climbed 16 places compared to the previous year.
Other countries that performed well are Paraguay (66), which climbed a 36 spots, and Botswana (39). The latter made the second biggest improvement of 26 places thanks to a major increase in labour force participation according to the latest data from the UNDP, plus greater wage equality for women.
The United States (31) however, fell by three places. This is due to drops in the participation of women in the economy and improvements in the scores of previously lower-ranking countries.
Germany (12) and the United Kingdom (15) slipped as well. Like previous years, Italy (72) continues to hold one of the lowest positions among European countries.
At the bottom of the list are Iran (128), Turkey (129), Pakistan (132) and Yemen (134).