10th November 2023
Ensuring you are making the right choices regarding where you work is important not just for female contractors, but anyone looking to work in a fair and equitable society. With that in mind, where are the most gender-equal countries around the world?
At a broad level, countries in Europe and North America tend to do better than the rest of the world, however, there is plenty of variation according to the latest rankings produced by the World Economic Forum’s (WEF) Global Gender Gap Report. The United States, for example, which is generally seen as the bastion of the developed world, ranks 43rd, with the gender gap less than 75% closed, behind countries including Colombia, Belarus and Liberia. The report utilises data that factors aspects such as women’s economic situations, educational attainment levels, health and survival rates and political empowerment in order to develop its ranking system. But which country comes out on top?
Gender equal countries – The Global Gender Gap Report
The country leading the way probably won’t come as a surprise to any readers who monitor gender equality. Iceland has ranked top of this chart for 14 years which is impressive enough in itself, but it’s also the only country with a gap that is more than 90% closed. Iceland’s impressive listing is largely down to its levels of political empowerment, with 25 of the past 50 years seeing a female head of state leading the country. In addition, 48% of its elected politicians are female. However, the country isn’t perfect and it ranks 79th in educational attainment and 128th for female health and survival, suggesting there’s a long way to go. There are obviously many benefits to taking on a contract role in Iceland; the country is ranked as one of the happiest and most peaceful in the world, although those tackling its complex taxation system are advised to partner with an expert before committing to a contract.
According to the WEF’s Gender Gap Report Norway has an equality gap that is estimated to be 87.9% closed. The country ranked first in the 2021 Women Peace and Security Index and performs particularly well in terms of female literacy (first globally), as well as the number of female professionals in technical and professional roles and income parity. According to Thea Ringseth, a Norwegian national, there is still significant evidence of social biases, but much of Norway’s success comes down to the number of visible female role models. “Gender equality is quite visible in Norway. There are a lot more women in positions where they usually used to be men, like our prime minister, who for the last eight years was female, and there are a lot of female leaders in government and other key positions,” she said.
New Zealand ranks as the leading country in the southern hemisphere for gender equality. Its position is led by high levels of female political representation and by the fact that female enrolment and involvement in secondary education is essentially equal with men. The country is a popular destination for contractors seeking a break from Western living however it still has some way to go to improve female income levels and boosting overall life expectancy for both men and women.
Namibia is the only African country to make the top 10 with its gender gap estimated to be 80.2%, ranking it in eighth position globally, and better than the UK (15th), Spain (18th) and Canada (30th). Like other nations that have ranked highly, it benefits from high levels of female political representation, and certainly presents an intriguing opportunity to contractors looking to work overseas. The country offers a unique, diverse culture with high levels of variation between its regions. Professionals in sectors like oil and gas, IT and engineering are particularly highly sought after here, although contractors are advised that they will have an extensive administrative burden to deal with in order to remain compliant.
You can see the full Global Gender Gap Report here – if you are considering a contract role in any of the mentioned countries then remember that, despite their levels of gender parity, each destination will present unique regulatory challenges for professionals who need to remain compliant with domestic legislation. If you are taking on a role in Namibia – or anywhere – but don’t back your ability to navigate often complex regulatory systems, then partner with an expert firm who can help to keep you compliant wherever you are operating.
6CATS International is part of WorkwellTM Group
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