The Economist Magazine asks “Where is the best place in the world to be a working woman?”
IN SOME countries International Women’s Day on March 8th is a public holiday. But it is too early to relax efforts to increase equality for working women. The Nordics are still out in front, according to our latest glass-ceiling index, which shows where women have the best chances of equal treatment at work. It combines data on higher education, labour-force participation, pay, child-care costs, maternity rights, business-school applications and representation in senior jobs. Each country’s score is a weighted average of its performance on nine indicators.
This year it is Finland that comes out best, overtaking Sweden and knocking Norway off the top spot. It scores highest of the 28 countries in our (The Economist) index for the share of women in higher education (where their lead over males has grown), female labour-force participation and women taking the GMAT (business-school entrance exam), now over 50%. Finland has also increased its paid maternity leave by more than two weeks. Norway still has more women on company boards than other countries, thanks to a 40% mandatory quota that came into effect in 2008, but women’s share of senior management jobs is slightly down on last year. While the share of parliamentary seats occupied by women in Norway and Finland has not changed, it fell slightly in Sweden, where the gender pay gap has also widened, and is now closer to the OECD average.
A newcomer to the index is Turkey, which is among the worst places in the OECD to be a working woman. It has the lowest share of senior management (just 10%) and the largest gap between male and female labour-force participation. In South Korea and Japan, too, the gaps in labour-force participation and pay remain unusually wide, though South Korea scores top for net child-care costs, thanks to generous subsidies. New Zealand has dropped down the ranks since last year, largely because net child-care costs have increased. While Germany has been doing better (or no worse) on all indicators except the number of women taking the GMAT exam, around a third of all candidates.
The OECD average shows improvements in the share of women in higher education, on boards and in parliament, as well as in their labour-force participation. But the pay gap between men and women has widened, there are fewer women in senior management and the average maternity leave has come down by two weeks. The glass ceiling may be cracking, but has by no means shattered.
The interactive chart is available at…..