22 Countries Where The Gender Gap Is Smaller Than In The U.S.

22 Countries Where The Gender Gap Is Smaller Than In The U.S.

In a year that has brought us national conversations about working women, leaning in and whether or not the patriarchy is in fact "dead," you might expect that all this talk signaled a real improvement for gender equality in the United States.

According to the 2013 Global Gender Gap report released on Oct. 24 by the World Economic Forum, that, unfortunately, is not the case. In fact, there are 22 countries where women have far more parity with their male counterparts than women do in the U.S.

The Global Gender Gap Report ranks 136 countries (which collectively contain over 93 percent of the world's population) based on 14 indicators used to measure the size of a nation's gender gap in four key areas:

1. Economic participation and opportunity, which includes female labor force participation, wage equality and the percentage of women in high-ranking, highly-skilled jobs.
2. Educational attainment, which looks at female literacy, and women's access to and enrollment in both basic and higher education.
3. Political empowerment, which examines the number of women holding political office as well as the number of female heads of state over the last 50 years.
4. Health and survival, which is measured by comparing female and male life expectancy and mortality rates.

Each country out of the 136 is assigned a score between 1 (total equality) and 0 (total inequality) for each of the 14 indicators. The scores are then averaged to determine the overall rankings. According to the report's authors, the index scores represent the "percentage of the gap that has been closed between women and men."

This year the United States ranked 23rd and received a score of 0.7392, nearly the same as in 2012 when the U.S. ranked 22nd with a score of .7373. Unfortunately, our ranking and score have both decreased since 2011. That year, the U.S. was ranked 17th, just behind the United Kingdom and just ahead of Canada, with a score of .7412.

Where the U.S. really seems to falter is not in educational attainment -- we have near-perfect gender equality when it comes to enrollment in primary, secondary and tertiary educational institutions. And though we ranked an abysmal 67th when it came to closing the wage gap, overall the U.S. ranked 6th for economic participation. But the U.S. has a serious gender issue when it comes to politics, receiving a score of .159 for overall political empowerment, mostly because we have so few women in legislative and ministerial positions. For example, women make up just 18.3 percent of the 113th Congress.

And of course, this report does not account for everything that makes up the quality of a woman's life. For example, it is illegal in both Nicaragua and the Philippines for women to terminate a pregnancy.

As always, these rankings show us the places where we have made incredible progress when it comes to gender parity in the U.S. -- and the areas where there is still much more work to be done.

Here are 22 countries that are more gender equal than the United States:

1. Iceland
Flickr: Andos_pics
2013 score: 0.8731In 2012, Iceland ranked #1 with a score of 0.8640.
2. Finland
Flickr: purplespace
2013 score: 0.8421In 2012, Finland ranked #2 with a score of 0.8451.
2. Norway
Flickr: Moyan_Brenn
2013 score: 0.8417In 2012, Norway ranked #3 with a score of 0.8403.
4. Sweden
Flickr: Mr Phil Price
2013 score: 0.8129In 2012, Sweden ranked #4 with a score of 0.8159.
5. Philippines
Flickr: alxndrtgt
2013 score: 0.7832In 2012, the Philippines ranked #8 with a score of 0.7757.
6. Ireland
Flickr: Mr G's Travels
2013 score: 0.7823In 2012, Ireland ranked #5 with a score of 0.7839
7. New Zealand
2013 score: 0.7799In 2012, New Zealand ranked #6 with a score of 0.7805.
8. Denmark
Flickr: JamesZ_Flickr
2013 score: 0.7779In 2012, Denmark ranked #7 with a score of 0.7777.
9. Switzerland
Flickr: Boobook48
2013 score: 0.7736In 2012, Switzerland ranked #10 with a score of 0.7672.
10. Nicaragua
Flickr: marklarson
2013 score: 0.7715In 2012, Nicaragua ranked #9 with a score of 0.7697.
11. Belgium
Flickr: Tom Holbrook
2013 score: 0.7684In 2012, Belgium ranked #12 with a score of 0.7652.
12. Latvia
Flickr: auws
2013 score: 0.7610In 2012, Latvia ranked #15 with a score of 0.7572.
13. The Netherlands
Flickr: Bastiaan_65
2013 score: 0.7608In 2012, the Netherlands ranked #11 with a score of 0.7659.
14. Germany
Flickr: Zanthia
2013 score: 0.7583In 2012, Germany ranked #13 with a score of 0.7629.
15. Cuba
Flickr: Nathan Laurell
2013 score: 0.7540In 2012, Cuba ranked #19 with a score of 0.7417.
16. Lesotho
Flickr: Daniel Weber
2013 score: 0.7530In 2012, Lesotho ranked #14 with a score of 0.7608.
17. South Africa
Flickr: YoTuT
2013 score: 0.7510In 2012, South Africa ranked #16 with a score of 0.7496.
18. The United Kingdom
Flickr: @Doug88888
2013 score: 0.7440In 2012, the U.K. ranked #18 with a score of 0.7433.
19. Austria
Flickr: Alf Igel
2013 score: 0.7437In 2012, Austria ranked #20 with a score of 0.7391.
20. Canada
Flickr: SparkyLeigh
2013 score: 0.7425In 2012, Canada ranked #21 with a score of 0.7381.
21. Luxembourg
Flickr: James.Stringer
2013 score: 0.7410In 2012, Luxembourg was ranked #17 with a score of 0.7439.
22. Burundi
Flickr: Peter Eichenauer
2013 score: 0.7397In 2012, Burundi ranked #24 with a score of 0.7338.

And the 22 countries that scored worst on The Global Gender Gap Report's rankings...

Before You Go

1. Yemen

22 Countries With The Worst Gender Gaps In 2013

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