For mothers and for women, the US is not the place to be — Canada is.
An annual survey of 370 gender experts has placed the US 6th in regard to the best places for women among the world’s biggest economies. At the top of the list — ahead of German, Britain, Australia, France and the US – is Canada, thanks to the access to education, health care and economic participation it provides for women. As Jimmie Briggs, a journalist and founder of the Man Up Campaign which advocates for youth to stop violence against women and girls, said to TrustLaw:
Having an understanding of Canadian culture and tracking the work they’re doing around violence against women and gender equality, I believe that Canada really has been emerging as a model for what most countries should aspire to for a long time.
Access to health care was a key factor in determining where countries were ranked. The polarizing, and often ideology-drive, public debate about reproductive rights was one of the main reasons the US was ranked out of the top five.
As the New York Times notes, the Group of 20 survey is the “latest of several studies that reflect poorly on the situation of women in the United States, the world’s largest economy.” Drawing on World Health Organization statistics, Save the Children’s 2012 Maternal Health Index found that the US is one of the worst places to be a mother among developed economies, due to maternal mortality rates and one of the worst breastfeeding environments. In the US, the lifetime risk of a woman to die from a pregnancy-related or birth-related cause is at 1 in 2,100 — placing the US above Albania, Moldova and Russia among developed nations.
Countries Where It’s Worst To Be a Woman
India, known for its economic might, is the last in the list, due to factors including infanticide, child marriage and slavery. As Gulshun Rehman, health programme development adviser at Save the Children UK, commented,
In India, women and girls continue to be sold as chattels, married off as young as 10, burned alive as a result of dowry-related disputes and young girls exploited and abused as domestic slave labour.
Indeed, India was ranked behind Saudi Arabia, a country where women are well-educated but do not have the right to vote or drive, must be accompanied by a male relative in public and must have a male relative’s approval to undergo medical procedures.
Just above these two countries are Indonesia, South Africa and Mexico.
Survey Highlights Conditions For Women Prior to G20 Summit
The Group of 20 survey considers gender equality in the G20 countries in terms of six categories: quality of health, freedom from violence, participation in politics, workplace opportunities, access to resources and freedom from trafficking and slavery. The survey is conducted by TrustLaw, a legal news service of the Thomson Reuters Foundation. Experts were from organizations including United Nations Women, the International Rescue Committee, Plan International, Amnesty USA and Oxfam International.
The survey was conducted in advance of the G20 heads of state summit to be held on June 18 – 19 in Mexico, where the picture for woman is grim due to a “culture of male chauvinism, high rates of physical and sexual violence and pockets of poverty where healthcare and other services are no better than in some of the most marginalised communities of Africa.”
The survey was conducted in 19 of the G20 nations; the European Union was not included as its 27 member-states have widely divergent gender policies. The other G20 nations are Argentina, Australia, Brazil, Britain, Canada, China, France, Germany, India, Indonesia, Italy, Japan, Mexico, Russia, Saudi Arabia, South Africa, South Korea, Turkey and the United States.
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