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Countries with the worst gender gaps

  • Countries with the worst gender gaps
    1/ Burak Kara // Getty Images

    Countries with the worst gender gaps

    The global gender gap as of 2018 stands at 68%, with men and women around the world experiencing different economic, political, and social realities. Although women in Scandinavian countries like Iceland, Norway, and Sweden experience the most gender parity, their experience is unique. In countries like Iraq, the Democratic Republic of Congo, and Chad, women have little-to-no female representation in their governments, they must adhere to strict gender roles, and many become victims of gender-based violence.

    Because the female experience varies from country to country, the analysts at Stacker used the World Economic Forum's (WEF) 2018 Global Gender Gap Report to find the 50 countries with the largest gender gaps in the world. The list is ordered from best to worst global gender gap index score, with women in the #1 country experiencing the highest levels of inequality.

    According to the WEF, “the Global Gender Gap Index examines the gap between men and women across four fundamental categories (subindexes): economic participation and opportunity, educational attainment, health and survival, and political empowerment.” Each category is made up of multiple concepts that showcase the differences between the male and female experience. For example, the economic participation and opportunity score takes into account labor force participation, wage equality ratios, and ratios of men and women in leadership roles. The WEF report provides comprehensive data on 149 different countries. The data is updated as of December 2018.

    When it comes to closing the remaining 32% of the global gender gap, the world still has a long way to go. Of the 149 countries included in the index, only 17 currently have female heads of state, and in 44 countries, less than 20% of women can read and write.

    From developed Asian countries to countries suffering the worst humanitarian crises in the world, these are the 50 countries with the largest gender gaps.

    You might also like: 50 archaic gender laws still in place around the world

  • #50. Sri Lanka
    2/ Aksam Zarook // Wikimedia Commons

    #50. Sri Lanka

    - Global index score: 0.676 (#100 among all countries)
    - Economic participation and opportunity score: 0.549 (#125)
    - Educational attainment score: 0.988 (#90)
    - Health and survival score: 0.98 (#1)
    - Political empowerment score: 0.188 (#65)

    According to the WEF report, Sri Lanka improved its ranking after closing 68% of its overall gender gap. This South Asian country is also the only country in its region to close all of its health and survival gap. The biggest opportunity for improvement falls in the economic sector, as Sri Lankan women earn an estimated 65% less money than their male counterparts.

  • #49. Malaysia
    3/ GoodFreePhotos

    #49. Malaysia

    - Global index score: 0.676 (#101 among all countries)
    - Economic participation and opportunity score: 0.656 (#84)
    - Educational attainment score: 1 (#1)
    - Health and survival score: 0.974 (#83)
    - Political empowerment score: 0.072 (#131)

    In 2018, Malaysian voters elected 32 women to its 222-seat parliament, a 39% increase in female representation from the last parliamentary term. Despite the improvement, some are calling for more to be done. Holding the newly elected leaders to their campaign promises, activists are calling for one-third of policy-making positions to be filled by women.

  • #48. Hungary
    4/ Hungarian Parliament, Budapest, Hungary—Jorge Franganillo // Flickr

    #48. Hungary

    - Global index score: 0.674 (#102 among all countries)
    - Economic participation and opportunity score: 0.68 (#68)
    - Educational attainment score: 0.994 (#66)
    - Health and survival score: 0.979 (#42)
    - Political empowerment score: 0.045 (#142)

    Women in Hungary have experienced limited opportunities for political empowerment. As of 2019, women make up 12% of the country's parliamentary seats—the lowest of any European country. In 2015, when Hungary's Prime Minister Viktor Orbán was asked why he didn't have any women cabinet members, Orbán claimed women couldn't handle the stress of politics.

  • #47. China
    5/ Tianamen Square, Beijing, China—Max Pixel

    #47. China

    - Global index score: 0.673 (#103 among all countries)
    - Economic participation and opportunity score: 0.653 (#86)
    - Educational attainment score: 0.958 (#111)
    - Health and survival score: 0.915 (#149)
    - Political empowerment score: 0.164 (#78)

    China is only one of four countries on the index where the sex ratio of women at birth falls below 91%. Researchers have coined this problematic gender imbalance “missing women.” Since the 1990s, a cultural preference for boys resulted in an increase in selective abortions, resulting in China having the most skewed sex ratio in the world.

  • #46. Paraguay
    6/ FF MM // Wikimedia Commons

    #46. Paraguay

    - Global index score: 0.672 (#104 among all countries)
    - Economic participation and opportunity score: 0.623 (#98)
    - Educational attainment score: 0.994 (#67)
    - Health and survival score: 0.972 (#96)
    - Political empowerment score: 0.1 (#114)

    In 2018, activists took to the streets when a 14-year-old girl died during childbirth after the Paraguayan government denied the rape victim an abortion. The majority-Catholic country enforces strict abortion laws, granting abortions only if the mother's life is in danger. Because of these restrictions, women sometimes undergo illegal or unsafe procedures to terminate a pregnancy. Today, illegal abortions are one of the leading causes of death for Paraguayan women.

  • #45. Nepal
    7/ Pashupatinath Temple, Nepal—Biaksh // Wikimedia Commons

    #45. Nepal

    - Global index score: 0.671 (#105 among all countries)
    - Economic participation and opportunity score: 0.608 (#110)
    - Educational attainment score: 0.926 (#123)
    - Health and survival score: 0.966 (#128)
    - Political empowerment score: 0.185 (#66)

    Nepal improved its overall ranking in the WEF report due in part to narrowing its gender gap in labor force participation. The mountain-side country also achieved full parity for secondary and tertiary education enrollment. However, the remaining literacy gender gap drags Nepal's educational attainment rank down to #123.

  • #44. Fiji
    8/ Nathan Hughes Hamilton // Flickr

    #44. Fiji

    - Global index score: 0.669 (#106 among all countries)
    - Economic participation and opportunity score: 0.603 (#112)
    - Educational attainment score: 0.991 (#76)
    - Health and survival score: 0.979 (#42)
    - Political empowerment score: 0.104 (#107)

    Fijian women are afforded some protection against discrimination on the basis of gender in the Bill of Rights established in the 1997 Constitution. However, the island nation has not closed much of its overall gender gap. Women in Fiji earn half of the estimated income that men make—$6,245 compared to $12,759, respectively.

  • #43. Guatemala
    9/ Palacio Nacional, Guatemala City, Guatemala—John Pavelka // Flickr

    #43. Guatemala

    - Global index score: 0.668 (#107 among all countries)
    - Economic participation and opportunity score: 0.623 (#100)
    - Educational attainment score: 0.968 (#104)
    - Health and survival score: 0.98 (#1)
    - Political empowerment score: 0.102 (#111)

    Guatemala is the second-worst ranked country in the Latin America and Caribbean region. The Central American country has closed 67% of its overall gender gap, coming in at #107 out of 149 countries on the index. Despite its poor marks for economic opportunity and political empowerment, Guatemalan women experience parity in sex ratio at birth and healthy life expectancy.

  • #42. India
    10/ The India Gate, New Delhi, India—Larry Johnson // Flickr

    #42. India

    - Global index score: 0.665 (#108 among all countries)
    - Economic participation and opportunity score: 0.385 (#142)
    - Educational attainment score: 0.953 (#114)
    - Health and survival score: 0.94 (#147)
    - Political empowerment score: 0.382 (#19)

    India, along with China, suffers from a skewed gender ratio resulting in the “missing women” phenomenon. In India alone, there are 37 million more men than women. This skewed gender ratio has been linked to increased bachelors and sex trafficking.

  • #41. Mauritius
    11/ Ashok Prabhakaran // Flickr

    #41. Mauritius

    - Global index score: 0.663 (#109 among all countries)
    - Economic participation and opportunity score: 0.585 (#119)
    - Educational attainment score: 0.991 (#78)
    - Health and survival score: 0.98 (#1)
    - Political empowerment score: 0.097 (#116)

    Mauritius is an island nation located off the east coast of Africa in the Indian Ocean. The country has closed about 66% of its overall gender gap. Unlike many countries on this list, Mauritius has had multiple female heads of state.

  • #40. Japan
    12/ Jlascar // Wikimedia Commons

    #40. Japan

    - Global index score: 0.662 (#110 among all countries)
    - Economic participation and opportunity score: 0.595 (#117)
    - Educational attainment score: 0.994 (#65)
    - Health and survival score: 0.979 (#41)
    - Political empowerment score: 0.081 (#125)

    For every one hour of unpaid work Japanese men complete—think household chores and childcare—Japanese women spend five-times that on the same activities. This disparity between household duties is linked to Japan's traditionally defined gender roles. In an effort to spur Japan's economy and increase women's participation in the labor force, Japan's Prime Minister Shinzō Abe has started an initiative called “womenomics.”

  • #39. Belize
    13/ Studentbz // Wikimedia Commons

    #39. Belize

    - Global index score: 0.662 (#111 among all countries)
    - Economic participation and opportunity score: 0.648 (#90)
    - Educational attainment score: 0.99 (#85)
    - Health and survival score: 0.98 (#1)
    - Political empowerment score: 0.032 (#144)

    Belize has closed only 66% of its overall gender gap, making it the worst-ranked country in Latin America and the Caribbean. Belize has a shockingly low political empowerment score compared to other countries in the same region. The country has achieved zero parity for women in ministerial positions and the country has never had a female head of state.

  • #38. Malawi
    14/ Tim Cowley // Wikimedia Commons

    #38. Malawi

    - Global index score: 0.662 (#112 among all countries)
    - Economic participation and opportunity score: 0.609 (#109)
    - Educational attainment score: 0.908 (#127)
    - Health and survival score: 0.98 (#1)
    - Political empowerment score: 0.152 (#84)

    Malawi, a landlocked country located in Southeast Africa, fell 31 spots since 2006 due to a widening economic gap. Some reports say women working in Malawi's agricultural sector make 22% less than their male counterparts. Girls in Malawi also experience one of the highest child marriage rates in the world, with 1 in 2 girls getting married before they turn 18.

  • #37. Maldives
    15/ Malé, Maldives—Shahee Ilyas // Wikimedia Commons

    #37. Maldives

    - Global index score: 0.662 (#113 among all countries)
    - Economic participation and opportunity score: 0.622 (#101)
    - Educational attainment score: 1 (#27)
    - Health and survival score: 0.953 (#144)
    - Political empowerment score: 0.072 (#132)

    The Maldives is the only country in the South Asia region to completely close its educational attainment gender gap. However, female participation in the labor force and the proportion of women in management positions remains low. According to the UN, women shoulder the burden of childcare and household duties, hindering their ability to gain parity in the economic sector.

  • #36. Sierra Leone
    16/ Nattu // Flickr

    #36. Sierra Leone

    - Global index score: 0.661 (#114 among all countries)
    - Economic participation and opportunity score: 0.686 (#62)
    - Educational attainment score: 0.907 (#128)
    - Health and survival score: 0.967 (#124)
    - Political empowerment score: 0.083 (#124)

    Sierra Leone is one of five new countries added to the index in 2018. At #114, the country ranks higher than the four other entrants—Democratic Republic of Congo, Iraq, Oman, and Togo. Sierra Leone is close to achieving gender equality in a few of the report's key indicators, including labor force participation and healthy life expectancy, but it falls behind in literacy and wage equality.

  • #35. South Korea
    17/ Doug Sun Beams // Flickr

    #35. South Korea

    - Global index score: 0.657 (#115 among all countries)
    - Economic participation and opportunity score: 0.549 (#124)
    - Educational attainment score: 0.973 (#100)
    - Health and survival score: 0.973 (#87)
    - Political empowerment score: 0.134 (#92)

    South Korean culture places an emphasis on traditional gender roles. On average, women spend five times more time on household chores than Korean males. In 2018, the largest reported women's protest took place in the country, demanding the government to do more against “spy cams” used to invade women's privacy.

  • #34. Guinea
    18/ Maarten van der Bent // Wikimedia Commons

    #34. Guinea

    - Global index score: 0.656 (#116 among all countries)
    - Economic participation and opportunity score: 0.82 (#7)
    - Educational attainment score: 0.682 (#147)
    - Health and survival score: 0.962 (#138)
    - Political empowerment score: 0.162 (#80)

    Guinea has the second-worst educational gender gap in the world. Although the country has removed two-thirds of its educational inequality, 85 nations on the index have closed 99–100% of this gap. However, Guinea scores high marks for economic participation, as it has achieved almost full parity for labor force participation.

  • #33. Ethiopia
    19/ neiljs // Flickr

    #33. Ethiopia

    - Global index score: 0.656 (#117 among all countries)
    - Economic participation and opportunity score: 0.606 (#111)
    - Educational attainment score: 0.819 (#137)
    - Health and survival score: 0.976 (#66)
    - Political empowerment score: 0.223 (#52)

    Ethiopian leadership is making strides to improve its political gender equality, as the country's new prime minister appointed women to 50% of the seats in his cabinet. While these female leaders provide a stepping stone to achieve gender parity, many Ethiopians are afraid it won't be enough to stop other gender-based issues. These issues include gender-based violence, sexist language, and educational inequality.

  • #32. Benin
    20/ Babylas // Wikimedia Commons

    #32. Benin

    - Global index score: 0.654 (#118 among all countries)
    - Economic participation and opportunity score: 0.85 (#4)
    - Educational attainment score: 0.729 (#145)
    - Health and survival score: 0.972 (#92)
    - Political empowerment score: 0.065 (#134)

    Benin is one of the best countries for economic participation and opportunity. The country has closed 80% of its economic gender gap due in large part to high female participation in the labor force. In stark contrast, Benin has a dismal educational attainment score because of gaps in literacy and enrollment in secondary and tertiary education.

  • #31. Tunisia
    21/ Citizen59 // Flickr

    #31. Tunisia

    - Global index score: 0.648 (#119 among all countries)
    - Economic participation and opportunity score: 0.439 (#135)
    - Educational attainment score: 0.966 (#108)
    - Health and survival score: 0.971 (#105)
    - Political empowerment score: 0.216 (#55)

    Compared to other countries in the Middle East and North Africa region, Tunisia has closed the second-largest portion of its overall gender gap. Tunisia, along with Israel, is one of only two countries in the region to close over 20% of the political gender gap. Despite these signs of progress, the country experienced setbacks in pay equity and healthy life expectancy for women.

  • #30. Gambia
    22/ Brett Lees-Smith // Wikimedia Commons

    #30. Gambia

    - Global index score: 0.642 (#120 among all countries)
    - Economic participation and opportunity score: 0.598 (#116)
    - Educational attainment score: 0.896 (#129)
    - Health and survival score: 0.97 (#112)
    - Political empowerment score: 0.106 (#106)

    Since 2006, Gambia fell 41 spots to #120. This is due in some part to a widening economic gap, as women make 58% less income than their male counterparts. Gambian women also are more likely to have informal employment, and they're almost twice as likely to be unemployed.

  • #29. United Arab Emirates
    23/ GoodFreePhotos

    #29. United Arab Emirates

    - Global index score: 0.642 (#121 among all countries)
    - Economic participation and opportunity score: 0.439 (#134)
    - Educational attainment score: 0.979 (#95)
    - Health and survival score: 0.972 (#94)
    - Political empowerment score: 0.18 (#68)

    The United Arab Emirates has closed 64% of its overall gender gap, making it the third-most equitable country in the Middle East and North Africa. However, women in the United Arab Emirates experience a widening pay gap, with women on average making an estimated $24,473 while men make $92,374. Although the country is working to improve gender equality, in January 2019, the government received backlash after the the country's Gender Balance awards were only given to men.

  • #28. Bhutan
    24/ Christopher Fynn // Wikimedia Commons

    #28. Bhutan

    - Global index score: 0.638 (#122 among all countries)
    - Economic participation and opportunity score: 0.619 (#104)
    - Educational attainment score: 0.917 (#125)
    - Health and survival score: 0.96 (#141)
    - Political empowerment score: 0.056 (#138)

    Nestled between India and Nepal, Bhutan is one of three countries included on the index where women have shorter life expectancies than men, making it one of the worst-ranked countries for women's health and survival. Bhutanese culture places an emphasis on traditional gender roles, where women are expected to manage childcare and the home. This responsibility negatively impacts women's participation in the workforce.

  • #27. Tajikistan
    25/ Presidential Palace, Dushanbe, Tajikistan—Rjruiziii // Wikimedia Commons

    #27. Tajikistan

    - Global index score: 0.638 (#123 among all countries)
    - Economic participation and opportunity score: 0.547 (#126)
    - Educational attainment score: 0.94 (#118)
    - Health and survival score: 0.976 (#74)
    - Political empowerment score: 0.088 (#121)

    Tajikistan is located in Central Asia and has borders along China, Kyrgyzstan, Uzbekistan, and Afghanistan. It has closed 64% of its overall gender gap, making it the worst-ranked country in Eastern Europe and Central Asia. According to the UN, Tajikistan is among the world's 30 poorest countries, with poverty disproportionately affecting Tajik women.

  • #26. Timor-Leste
    26/ Nick Hobgood // Wikimedia Commons

    #26. Timor-Leste

    - Global index score: 0.638 (#124 among all countries)
    - Economic participation and opportunity score: 0.423 (#138)
    - Educational attainment score: 0.935 (#121)
    - Health and survival score: 0.977 (#64)
    - Political empowerment score: 0.216 (#56)

    Timor-Leste is located in Southeast Asia and is roughly the size of Connecticut. Some Timorese women experience extreme poverty; they make less than one-third the estimated income of Timorese men. Women also are more likely to experience unemployment and are often left to care for children and the household.

  • #25. Angola
    27/ David Stanley // Wikimedia Commons

    #25. Angola

    - Global index score: 0.633 (#125 among all countries)
    - Economic participation and opportunity score: 0.602 (#113)
    - Educational attainment score: 0.745 (#143)
    - Health and survival score: 0.98 (#1)
    - Political empowerment score: 0.206 (#58)

    After a quarter century of civil war, Angola was left to rebuild schools, improve education, and increase literacy rates. Although educational attainment is the gender gap most likely to be closed around the world, Angola is one of the worst-ranked countries in this category. In 2014, 71% of women ages 15 to 24 were literate while 85% of men the same age could read and write.

  • #24. Kuwait
    28/ Snap® // Flickr

    #24. Kuwait

    - Global index score: 0.630 (#126 among all countries)
    - Economic participation and opportunity score: 0.541 (#127)
    - Educational attainment score: 0.992 (#74)
    - Health and survival score: 0.961 (#140)
    - Political empowerment score: 0.027 (#146)

    Kuwait is one of the worst countries for political empowerment, with over 97% of its political gender gap left to close. Kuwait also is one of three countries on the index where women live shorter lives than men. Despite these setbacks, Kuwait has closed 63% of its overall gender gap.

  • #23. Qatar
    29/ Pixabay

    #23. Qatar

    - Global index score: 0.629 (#127 among all countries)
    - Economic participation and opportunity score: 0.511 (#129)
    - Educational attainment score: 0.995 (#62)
    - Health and survival score: 0.961 (#139)
    - Political empowerment score: 0.05 (#140)

    Qatar went from having no women in parliament to women making up 10% of the country's parliamentary seats. Despite strides in increasing women's participation in politics and in the workforce, there is still a large gap in pay equity between women and men. The estimated earned income for women is $69,650, while men earn an estimated $147,711.

  • #22. Algeria
    30/ Damien Boilley // Wikimedia Commons

    #22. Algeria

    - Global index score: 0.629 (#128 among all countries)
    - Economic participation and opportunity score: 0.452 (#132)
    - Educational attainment score: 0.957 (#112)
    - Health and survival score: 0.962 (#137)
    - Political empowerment score: 0.145 (#85)

    Although the country's constitution protects women against sex-based discrimination and calls for equal rights for men and women, Algeria still needs to do more to close the gender gap. According to laws set forth in the Algerian Family code, women face an uphill battle if they want to file for divorce. A man can divorce his wife unilaterally, but a woman must file for divorce through the court, and sometimes, women are required to pay back the full sum of their dowry.

  • #21. Burkina Faso
    31/ Helge Fahrnberger // Wikimedia Commons

    #21. Burkina Faso

    - Global index score: 0.629 (#129 among all countries)
    - Economic participation and opportunity score: 0.623 (#99)
    - Educational attainment score: 0.853 (#135)
    - Health and survival score: 0.963 (#133)
    - Political empowerment score: 0.075 (#128)

    Since 2006, Burkina Faso dropped 25 spots from #104 to #129. According to Amnesty International, women must be given more extensive and protective sexual and reproductive rights. Despite laws prohibiting female genital mutilation (FGM), FGM is widely practiced in Burkina Faso, and over half of women in the country marry before their 18th birthday.

  • #20. Turkey
    32/ Nedim Ardoğa // Wikimedia Commons

    #20. Turkey

    - Global index score: 0.628 (#130 among all countries)
    - Economic participation and opportunity score: 0.466 (#131)
    - Educational attainment score: 0.968 (#106)
    - Health and survival score: 0.976 (#67)
    - Political empowerment score: 0.101 (#113)

    Traditional gender roles impact Turkish women's economic opportunities. Many women have difficulty finding jobs, and only 34% of Turkish women work. According to a study conducted by Bahçeehir University's Center for Economic and Social Research, nearly 99% of Turkish women reported children under the age of 3 must be cared for by mothers.

  • #19. Côte d'Ivoire
    33/ Asram // Wikimedia Commons

    #19. Côte d'Ivoire

    - Global index score: 0.627 (#131 among all countries)
    - Economic participation and opportunity score: 0.621 (#102)
    - Educational attainment score: 0.815 (#138)
    - Health and survival score: 0.97 (#106)
    - Political empowerment score: 0.102 (#110)

    Côte d'Ivoire is a West African country situated along the Atlantic Ocean. In the last decade, the country has experienced armed conflict and poverty, and has seen a continuation of traditional gender roles. In a 2014 study, researchers found men reported gender norms were prevalent throughout households and villages.

  • #18. Bahrain
    34/ Wadiia // Wikimedia Commons

    #18. Bahrain

    - Global index score: 0.627 (#132 among all countries)
    - Economic participation and opportunity score: 0.515 (#128)
    - Educational attainment score: 0.998 (#43)
    - Health and survival score: 0.958 (#142)
    - Political empowerment score: 0.037 (#143)

    According to the WEF report, Bahrain experienced a widening gap in pay equity for the second year in a row. Women make less than one-third of the estimated earned income of men—$19,996 compared to $64,308, respectively. The country does not mandate equal pay or anti-discrimination hiring practices, and women are much more likely to be unemployed than men.

  • #17. Nigeria
    35/ Jeff Attaway // Wikimedia Commons

    #17. Nigeria

    - Global index score: 0.621 (#133 among all countries)
    - Economic participation and opportunity score: 0.661 (#79)
    - Educational attainment score: 0.806 (#140)
    - Health and survival score: 0.964 (#132)
    - Political empowerment score: 0.052 (#139)

    Nigeria's global index score declined after its health expectancy and educational attainment gender gaps grew. In 2015, a social media movement #BeingFemaleinNigeria was born. The movement aimed to spread awareness of the gender stereotypes and inequality prevalent in Africa's most populous nation.

  • #16. Togo
    36/ shawnleishman // Flickr

    #16. Togo

    - Global index score: 0.618 (#134 among all countries)
    - Economic participation and opportunity score: 0.61 (#108)
    - Educational attainment score: 0.771 (#142)
    - Health and survival score: 0.965 (#131)
    - Political empowerment score: 0.128 (#95)

    Togo is one of five new entrants to the index in 2018. This West African nation is situated on the Gulf of Guinea and its population exceeds 8 million people. Of the four major categories making up the global index score, Togo's political empowerment ranking is its best score. Over the last two decades, Togo has seen a steady uptick in women in parliament.

  • #15. Egypt
    37/ Omar Attallah // Wikimedia Commons

    #15. Egypt

    - Global index score: 0.614 (#135 among all countries)
    - Economic participation and opportunity score: 0.421 (#139)
    - Educational attainment score: 0.975 (#99)
    - Health and survival score: 0.974 (#84)
    - Political empowerment score: 0.087 (#122)

    Egypt has made strides to close gaps in literacy and enrollment in tertiary education, but work must be done to even the economic playing field. Egypt is one of four countries with the lowest rates of women in managerial positions, with less than 7% of managers being women. Women also make up less than one-third of the Egyptian workforce.

  • #14. Mauritania
    38/ Uzabiaga // Wikimedia Commons

    #14. Mauritania

    - Global index score: 0.607 (#136 among all countries)
    - Economic participation and opportunity score: 0.408 (#140)
    - Educational attainment score: 0.862 (#134)
    - Health and survival score: 0.97 (#109)
    - Political empowerment score: 0.189 (#64)

    According to the WEF report, Mauritania, a North African country of nearly 4 million people, experienced a growing gender gap. The report claims growing pay inequality and fewer women in parliament contributed to this change. In Mauritania, women make one-third of a man's estimated income.

  • #13. Morocco
    39/ Adam Jones, Ph.D. // Wikimedia Commons

    #13. Morocco

    - Global index score: 0.607 (#137 among all countries)
    - Economic participation and opportunity score: 0.404 (#141)
    - Educational attainment score: 0.942 (#117)
    - Health and survival score: 0.963 (#135)
    - Political empowerment score: 0.117 (#102)

    In 2018, the Moroccan government passed a law criminalizing forms of domestic violence, but some advocates claim it doesn't go far enough. The law itself doesn't define sexual harassment and fails to explicitly criminalize marital rape. In a survey conducted by UN Women, 41% of men in Morocco's capital reported “financial support justifies marital rape.”

  • #12. Jordan
    40/ Tareq Ibrahim Hadi // Wikimedia Commons

    #12. Jordan

    - Global index score: 0.605 (#138 among all countries)
    - Economic participation and opportunity score: 0.375 (#144)
    - Educational attainment score: 0.998 (#45)
    - Health and survival score: 0.971 (#102)
    - Political empowerment score: 0.075 (#129)

    In Jordan, two-times more women are unemployed than men, and women earn 16% of men's estimated yearly income. Despite limited economic opportunities, Jordanian women experience relative parity in educational attainment. Men and women alike enroll in all levels of schooling, and the literacy rate is almost even.

  • #11. Oman
    41/ David Stanley // Flickr

    #11. Oman

    - Global index score: 0.605 (#139 among all countries)
    - Economic participation and opportunity score: 0.43 (#137)
    - Educational attainment score: 0.99 (#83)
    - Health and survival score: 0.979 (#49)
    - Political empowerment score: 0.02 (#148)

    Oman's gender gap grew due in large part to a declining economic participation score and a dismal political empowerment score. Women in Oman only received the right to vote in 1994, and there has never been a female head of state. Since 2011, only one woman has been elected to the country's Consultative Council.

  • #10. Lebanon
    42/ Public Domain

    #10. Lebanon

    - Global index score: 0.595 (#140 among all countries)
    - Economic participation and opportunity score: 0.432 (#136)
    - Educational attainment score: 0.959 (#110)
    - Health and survival score: 0.967 (#122)
    - Political empowerment score: 0.024 (#147)

    According to the WEF report, despite some increases to women's representation in parliament, Lebanon's gender gap remains relatively unchanged from previous years. In 2018, more women than ever were included on the ballot, and six women were elected to parliament. Despite these record numbers, women hold less than 5% of the 128 seats in parliament.

  • #9. Saudi Arabia
    43/ Public Domain

    #9. Saudi Arabia

    - Global index score: 0.59 (#141 among all countries)
    - Economic participation and opportunity score: 0.337 (#145)
    - Educational attainment score: 0.982 (#93)
    - Health and survival score: 0.963 (#136)
    - Political empowerment score: 0.077 (#127)

    A young Saudi Arabian woman named Rahaf Mohammed al-Qunun gained worldwide attention in early 2019, after locking herself in a Canadian hotel room in an attempt to seek asylum. Women in Saudi Arabia face strict male guardianship rules, and the country does not have any laws mandating equal pay or anti-discriminatory hiring practices. In recent years, reports have alleged the Saudi Arabian government jailed, tortured, and sexually abused female activists.

  • #8. Iran
    44/ Behrooz Rezvani // Wikimedia Commons

    #8. Iran

    - Global index score: 0.589 (#142 among all countries)
    - Economic participation and opportunity score: 0.376 (#143)
    - Educational attainment score: 0.969 (#103)
    - Health and survival score: 0.966 (#127)
    - Political empowerment score: 0.046 (#141)

    Women in Iran are mandated by law to wear a hijab in public. The country's Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei claims the hijab will protect women from sexual assault. As part of the anti-hijab movement, #WhiteWednesdays was born. Iranian women who participate in the movement wear white clothing and take off their hijabs in public as a form of protest.

  • #7. Mali
    45/ Robin Taylor // Wikimedia Commons

    #7. Mali

    - Global index score: 0.582 (#143 among all countries)
    - Economic participation and opportunity score: 0.507 (#130)
    - Educational attainment score: 0.739 (#144)
    - Health and survival score: 0.965 (#129)
    - Political empowerment score: 0.118 (#101)

    Security and political crises in Mali have displaced thousands of women, and many have been subjected to gender-based violence. According to the UN, the government has quotas in place to help increase political parity between genders, but even those quotas aren't being fulfilled. Women in the country earn less than half of their male counterparts' income, and due to the crises, many women's businesses have fallen into disrepair.

  • #6. Democratic Republic of the Congo
    46/ Ralf Steinberger // Flickr

    #6. Democratic Republic of the Congo

    - Global index score: 0.582 (#144 among all countries)
    - Economic participation and opportunity score: 0.613 (#107)
    - Educational attainment score: 0.674 (#148)
    - Health and survival score: 0.976 (#70)
    - Political empowerment score: 0.063 (#136)

    The Democratic Republic of Congo is considered one of the most dangerous countries for women due to high rates of sexual violence and rape. Because of the conflict in the country, many women and children have been displaced. Women in the Congo are living through a humanitarian crisis and many have survived massacres, rapes, and kidnappings.

  • #5. Chad
    47/ Ken Doerr // Wikimedia Commons

    #5. Chad

    - Global index score: 0.58 (#145 among all countries)
    - Economic participation and opportunity score: 0.677 (#71)
    - Educational attainment score: 0.575 (#149)
    - Health and survival score: 0.971 (#101)
    - Political empowerment score: 0.097 (#118)

    Educational attainment is one of the smallest gender gaps in the world, but Chad scored the lowest in this category, closing only 57% of its educational gap. Only 13% of women living in Chad can read or write. This sub-Saharan country hasn't even closed half of its overall gender gap, making it the lowest-performing country in the region.

  • #4. Syria
    48/ Al Assad University Hospital in Damascus, Syria—Bassel.92 // Wikimedia Commons

    #4. Syria

    - Global index score: 0.568 (#146 among all countries)
    - Economic participation and opportunity score: 0.273 (#148)
    - Educational attainment score: 0.955 (#113)
    - Health and survival score: 0.980 (#1)
    - Political empowerment score: 0.063 (#135)

    The humanitarian crisis in Syria is disproportionately affecting women and children. Mothers are forced to become the sole providers for their families, and girls are losing their education. Gender-based violence is on the rise, and 69% of communities in Syria reported concern regarding early marriages.

  • #3. Iraq
    49/ U.S. National Archives // Picryl

    #3. Iraq

    - Global index score: 0.551 (#147 among all countries)
    - Economic participation and opportunity score: 0.264 (#149)
    - Educational attainment score: 0.829 (#136)
    - Health and survival score: 0.975 (#76)
    - Political empowerment score: 0.135 (#90)

    Iraq is one of five new countries added to the WEF's 2018 report, but it didn't fair well in the ranking. Iraq's patriarchal society has now turned extreme, and women are expected to adhere to intensified versions of gender norms. Instances of gender-based violence also are on the rise. Two prominent Iraqi women—one social media star and one human rights advocate—were executed in public in 2018.

  • #2. Pakistan
    50/ Ali Mujtaba // Wikimedia Commons

    #2. Pakistan

    - Global index score: 0.55 (#148 among all countries)
    - Economic participation and opportunity score: 0.318 (#146)
    - Educational attainment score: 0.81 (#139)
    - Health and survival score: 0.946 (#145)
    - Political empowerment score: 0.127 (#97)

    Pakistan is the worst-ranked country in South Asia as it only closed 55% of its overall gender gap. According to the WEF report, the country doesn't have laws enforcing equal pay in the workplace and non-discrimination laws do not exist. Although women received the right to vote in 1956, women are still barred from voting in some parts of the country.

  • #1. Yemen
    51/ Alexandra Pugachevsky // Wikimedia Commons

    #1. Yemen

    - Global index score: 0.499 (#149 among all countries)
    - Economic participation and opportunity score: 0.299 (#147)
    - Educational attainment score: 0.718 (#146)
    - Health and survival score: 0.966 (#126)
    - Political empowerment score: 0.014 (#149)

    Not only does Yemen have the worst gender gap in the world, but it is experiencing the world's worst humanitarian crisis. Women and children are increasingly affected by the conflict between a Saudi-led coalition and Houthi rebels. Instances of domestic and sexual abuse are on the rise, and girls are being forced into marriage for dowry money. With husbands and fathers fighting or dead, women are forced to support their families and take care of their children and their households.

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