The Worst Countries for Women

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The Worst Countries for Women


Historically, and even today in some parts of the world, women are among the most marginalized sectors in society. They have had to endure years of gender-based discrimination and violence throughout their lives. Although there has been huge progress in terms of women’s rights, the Global Gender Gap Report 2018 said that it will take 108 years to close the gender gap across politics, education, and health. It added that another 202 years are needed to close the workplace gender gap.

In the report, Iceland remained the world’s most gender-equal country. This came as a no surprise since the country is known for enforcing many laws that protect women. However, on the opposite side of the spectrum are a lot of countries that have the slowest progress in achieving gender-equal society. These are the worst places to be when you’re a woman.


A store in the United Arab Emirates / Photo by: Karim Sahib, AFP and Getty Images via USNews


United Arab Emirates

Earlier this year, the United Arab Emirates was criticized for awarding only men in a competition meant to foster gender equality. This is not surprising for a country that continues to rank low in the Global Gender Index. Activists have been condemning the nation for its weak protections against domestic violence. It also didn’t include gender as a basis for the definition of discrimination. 



An Afghan woman / Photo by: Rahmat Gul and AP via Insider



The Taliban, a Sunni Islamic fundamentalist political movement and military organization in Afghanistan, has reigned in the country for many years. It has fostered many sexist ideals that continue to harm and violate women. According to an article by Insider, an American online media company, the Human Rights Watch reported that only 37 percent of Afghan women are literate. The country has high rates of maternal mortality, a third of girls are married before they turn 18, and women's civil liberties are generally restricted.



Female students in Saudi Arabia / Photo by: Fayez Nureldine, AFP and Getty Images via USNews


Saudi Arabia

In Saudi Arabia, women are considered minors under male guardians. They are not permitted to leave home for any reason. Although they were granted the right to vote back in 2015, there are still some rights that they need to fight for. Saudi Arabian women are also not permitted to drive, and most public places are segregated.



A woman walking along a dangerous street in Yemen / Photo by: Hani Mohammed and AP via Insider



In Yemen, women are viewed as subordinate sex compared to men. The UN Population Fund reported that approximately 2.6 million women and girls are at risk of gender-based violence. Another 52,000 women are at risk of sexual violence. The World Report 2017 also showed that women in Yemen have no equal rights to child custody, inheritance, or divorce as men.



Two elderly women selling various goods in Indonesia / Photo by: Juni Kriswanto, AFP and Getty Images via USNews



Throughout the years, Indonesia keeps on passing sexist laws. For instance, they passed an order in 2014 that called for females who are applying to become police officers to take a “virginity test” to ensure “the morality of female applicants.” In 2013, laws were passed that banned women from riding motorcycles and from dancing in public. According to an article by US News, an American media company that publishes news, opinion, consumer advice, rankings, and analysis, the National Commission on Violence Against Women reported that the number of violence against women almost tripled between 2010 and 2014.



Mosul, Iraq / Photo by: Suhaib Salem and Reuters via Insider



A UN Women report showed that one in five Iraqi women is subjected to domestic violence. The country’s gender gap continues to widen with the increase of gender-based violence and limited participation of women and girls in significant fields. It was also reported that at least 36 percent of married women in the country have experienced some form of abuse at the hands of their husbands.



Young girls studying in India / Photo by: Tim Graham and Getty Images via USNews



Although India has been one of the countries to gain the most in terms of gender equality, its anti-women laws continue to do its harm. It was reported that between 60 percent and 80 percent of women admit that they have been abused by their spouses, fathers, or brothers. Sadly, 70 percent of them believe that rape is justified for refusal to have sex or for bearing daughters.



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