There’s a wide range of issues that fall upon the lines of the gender gap: They range from gender based violence, inequality, discrimination and more. But as it turns out, the latest report by World Economic Forum titled “The Gender Gap Report 2014” shows that despite the 21st century's endless dialogue and discourse for equality, women all over the world are still victims of the gender gap.
Just like the Human Development Index, the report takes into account variables that affect the gender gap: health, education, economy and politics. Based on that, 142 countries were ranked according to different scores, which range from 0 (complete inequality) to 1 (equality). Not surprisingly, the Scandinavian countries such as Iceland and Norway are the top of the list, while a lot of other predictable countries such as Iran, Syria and more are near the bottom of the list.
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The people on the bottom have always been struggling with women’s issues and will probably continue to do so for a very long time. These are the three worst countries for women, as of 2014. Not much has changed.
Women in this Middle-Eastern country don’t have much going for them. There are no women present in parliament, and compared to their male counterparts, only 26% of women take part in the economy – i.e., they are working. Only half of the women here can read in this country which is plagued by child marriage, where more than half of the girls were married by the time they were 18.
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Women here, statistically, don’t work as much as the men do. Only a quarter of the female population are part of the economic work force, as opposed to 85% of the men. Education wise, it’s not a pretty picture either, where less than half of the female population get a sound education.
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Chad is one of the poorest countries according to the UN’s HDI. The amount of women who work here are distinctly higher – possibly due to their large involvement in agriculture. But still, the women remain not very educated (only 28% of them can read) and barely represented politically, with only 15% of parliament seats filled by women.
These countries each have their own set of issues that affect women, ranging from acid attacks, rape and child marriages. "These things are universal," says Taina Bien-Aime, executive director of New York-based Equality Now. "There is not one single country where women can feel absolutely safe."
Having said that, three countries that do shine are Rwanda, whose 7th ranking is above the likes of the U.S. and the United Kingdom and stands as the “strongest performer in the region” of Africa; Zimbabwe’s ranking increase from 95 in 2009 to 63 today; and Liberia whose ranking of 111 has been a progressive one since the United Nations Development Program gave it a ranking of 143 out of 147 countries in the previous year.