Through it’s Women Leaders and Gender Parity Program, the World Economic Forum puts out this nifty and yet seriously depressing little study known as the Global Gender Gap Report. You can find the links to the 2008 and 2007 reports here.
The GGGR rests on three major concepts in “[measuring] gender-based gaps in access to resources and and opportunities.” First: it recognizes that different countries have different levels of development and infrastructure regarding education, employment, health care, etc., and so doesn’t judge countries’ development relative to each other. Second, the study looks at outcomes (results like “number of women with job X”) rather than inputs (variables like “length or availability of maternity leave”). Third: it focuses on “gender equality, not women’s empowerment.” I take some issue with this language, but they’re using that to mean that they’re looking for places where women lag behind men in four areas: economic participation and opportunity, educational attainment, political empowerment, and health and survival. The results, you ask?
I am not qualified to assess the quality of their number-crunching methods (I welcome comments from those who are) but the results are as follows: out of 130 countries included in the study, the United States ranks 27th. The top 10 countries in gender equality–as delinated above–are, in order: Norway, Finland, Sweden, Iceland, New Zealand, Philippines, Denmark, Ireland, Netherlands, and Latvia.
The UK comes in 13th, Canada at 31st, Mexico at 97th. Click through to the whole list to see who ranked at the bottom, and maybe consider learning Norwegian. Or not; according to the study, if 100% = equality, Norway–the most equitable place on the globe for women, mind you–is only pulling a B-: 82.4%
Something to think about the next time you hear a comment about how feminism is obsolete.