A global ranking of the best countries for gender equality, measured by the relative gaps between women and men in health, education, economy and politics.
Now in its 14th year, the report is compiled by drawing on data from the World Bank, the European Bank for Reconstruction and Development (EBRD), the OECD and UNESCO.
The report calculates gender-based gaps using four key dimensions: Economic Participation and Opportunity; Educational Attainment; Health and Survival; Political Empowerment.
The index also tracks progress towards closing gender-based gaps over time and makes regional comparisons.
Assessing the gender gap enables the index to compare rich and poor countries on an equal footing. It is the disparity between genders that is being measured rather than the baseline quality of living.
10 best and worst countries for gender equality
These are the best and worst countries for gender equality. The Nordic states have consistently performed strongly since the report was first produced in 2006.
- Iceland remains the world’s most gender-equal country for the 11th time in a row.
- The global top 10 features seven European countries, one country from the Americas, one from East Asia and the Pacific and one country from Sub-Saharan Africa.
- Western Europe is the best performing region for the 14th consecutive year.
- The Middle East and North Africa (MENA) is the worst-performing region, despite having narrowed its gap by 0.5 points since last year.
- The USA (53) and Canada (19) have both stalled, particularly in terms of economic participation and opportunity. At the current rate, it will take 151 years to close the gap.
- Spain, Ethiopia, Mexico and Georgia improved the most since last year, all increasing their positions by more than 20 places.
- Recent global improvements can largely be ascribed to a significant increase in the number of women in politics.
- However, in the past 50 years, 85 states have had no female head of state.
- Globally, only 55% of women (aged 15-64) are engaged in the labour market as opposed to 78% of men.
- In 72 countries women are barred from opening bank accounts or obtaining credit.
- There is no country where men spend the same amount of time on unpaid work as women. In countries where the ratio is lowest, it is still 2:1.
Closing the gap
According to the current trajectory, global gender parity will take 99.5 years. This is an improvement on the previous year when the gap was calculated to take 108 years.
However, it still means parity between men and women across all dimensions – health, education, work and politics – will take more than a lifetime to achieve.
Some regions are making better progress than others in regards to gender parity.
- Western Europe will achieve gender parity in 54 years.
- Latin America and the Caribbean in 59 years.
- South Asia in 71.5 years.
- Sub-Saharan Africa in 95 years.
- Eastern Europe and Central Asia in 107 years.
- Middle East and North Africa in 140 years.
- North America in 151 years.
- East Asia and the Pacific in 163 years.
Top 10s (WEForum)
Best countries for gender equality – complete ranking
The table below ranks the best countries for gender equality by the score they achieved in the 2020 Global Gender Gap Report by the World Economic Forum.
The highest possible score is 1 (equality) and the lowest possible score is 0 (inequality). Some countries have been omitted due to insufficient data.
|24||Trinidad & Tobago*||0.76||n/a|
|127||Papua New Guinea*||0.64||n/a|
|142||Côte d’Ivoire (Ivory Coast)||0.61||–11|