The 10 Worst Countries For Women In 2015
The 21st century woman is powerful, strong-minded and self-made. Across the developed world, gender inequalities are being lessened. While there is still a long way to go until things are fair, giant strides are being made. But what about the billions of women yet to experience the perks of the cyber age? Women for whom violence, degradation, enforced ignorance and discrimination are an everyday fact of life.
No one country has successfully eliminated the gender gap, according to the World Economic Forum’s (WEF) 2014 Global Gender Gap Report, but developed countries are making great progress. Sadly, but predictably, it is the world’s poorest countries where women suffer the most. As Barack Obama said in a speech in Kenya last week, to fulfil its potential and compete in the global economy, a country needs to have its women educated and employed. Unsurprisingly, the disparity between men and women in terms of education, literacy and employment is among the world’s worst for the countries that make list.
While this article won’t change a thing for oppressed women worldwide, awareness is the first step. So here, in no particular order, are the 10 worst countries for women in 2015…
After decades of conflict, from both foreign and domestic sources, Afghanistan is a country racked by political, economic and social turmoil. Life expectancy is just 45 for women (and only 46 for men), female literacy is at just 17%, half of brides are 16 or younger and 85% of women have experienced domestic violence. The statistics are shocking and, with the Taliban making gains across Helmand since international forces departed in late 2014, they show little sign of improving.
One of the poorest countries in one of the poorest areas in the world, men and women have a difficult life in enormous Mali, but the statistics for women are truly shocking. A disgraceful 91.4% of women reported to have experienced some degree of Female Genital Mutilation (FGM) in a 2013 study, a number that hadn’t fallen since statistics began in 1993. In a country where to be fat is still considered to be aesthetically pleasing due to widespread malnourishment, 71% of women are married before 18 and just 25% of women are literate.
Even before ISIS took over vast a vast swathe of these two countries, Iraq’s literacy rate among women had plummeted and just 14% of Syrian women were in the labour force. Focusing on the areas of these countries now under ISIS control makes for grim reading. The ISIS manifesto decrees that girls as young as nine can marry fighters, education should begin at 7 years old and end no later than 15 and women are to remain hidden and veiled. according the the BBC, there are stories of men being flogged because their wives weren’t wearing gloves.
1 in 24 women dies during pregnancy and childbirth. This is largely down to deep-rooted Hindu and Buddhist beliefs, prevalent in remote areas, barring women from going to hospital. Instead, for childbirth, women are forced into a dark barn where, if they survive childbirth, they must wait 13 days before they can leave. Early marriage is still practised widely. Those who are not married or are orphaned can be sold to child traffickers, a practise that has worsened in the chaos of post-earthquake Nepal.
According to the WEF’s 2014 report, Yemen is the worst country in the world for women in comparison to men. The Social Institutions and Gender Index (SIGI) also ranked Yemen in last place. Women are under the control of their husbands. They cannot leave the house or travel without their permission. Of the 301 Parliamentarians, just one is a woman. Those who are employed outside of the home tend be in agricultural labour positions, paid on a day-to-day basis. Half of women can read while 52% are married before the age of 18.
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