I came across an article in The Atlantic recently entitled, "Countries Where Women Have the Best Lives, in Charts." I mean....countries, women, charts? That's a magic combination for me, and I dove right in.
The article differentiates 'best lives' among such factors as health, happiness, greatest income and likelihood to hold positions of power. The entire article is fascinating as it explores each of these factors and presents graphic data, which I always find so compelling.
Conclusions? Well, there isn't a clear-cut winner with the title of Best Country for Women of the World. However, regions standout (Scandinavia & Southern Europe) and a few countries shine brightly among the many: New Zealand, Japan, Denmark and Georgia. New Zealand ranked top for working conditions, including equality at work, wage gap and child care cost compared to wages. Georgia, the tiny former Soviet state, is the place where women feel safest walking alone at night. Denmark just seems to be a happy place, all around. A staggering 89% of people report having more positive experiences daily than negative ones. Japanese women experience the least amount of domestic violence.
Where do women benefit from the most maternity leave? Turns out it's Bulgaria, the UK and Ireland. On a sad note, the US is one of only three countries across the globe that does not require paid maternity leave.
The entire article is full of interesting facts, data and, ultimately, unasked questions about the status of women worldwide and how it is we even define 'best' and 'happiest'. It's a quick read; although it leaves me pondering, ruminating and just generally questioning.