U.S. and Tanzania best at clawing back women’s rights

According to the 2007 annual report on the global gender gap, the United States and Tanzania have had the most success at clawing back women’s rights amongst the top-teir (top 35) of the ranked countries.

The World Economic Forum has just released its 2007 annual report on the global gender gap and, in addition to the data on the United States and Tanzania, the report illustrates some interesting trends.  Obviously the World Economic Forum is not exactly stacked with socialists, but interestingly enough, its data goes a long way towards showing that the countries which chose to be animated by socialist values (even though they may retain a capitalist system) tend to be the best places for women’s equality.

From the Associated Press:

“Women in predominantly Muslim countries are struggling to compete for jobs, win equal pay and hold political office, falling behind the rest of the world in eliminating discrimination, according to a report issued Thursday by the World Economic Forum. 

Nordic countries, by contrast, received the best overall grades for gender parity in education, employment, health and politics, according to the review of 128 countries.


Overall, Canada’s score on the categories studies improved slightly, but that wasn’t enough to prevent the country from slipping to 18th from 14th spot in the world rankings. The United States finished in 31st spot down eight places from last year.

Sweden, which has more women than men holding high political office, topped the list, followed by fellow Nordics Norway, Finland and Iceland.


Ex-Soviet states with a Muslim majority, such as Azerbaijan and Kyrgyzstan, were in the middle of the field, but nearly all countries in the Middle East placed in the bottom third.

[…] [W]omen in Sri Lanka, South Africa, Cuba and Lesotho all fared better – relatively speaking – than women in industrialized countries such as Japan, Switzerland and the United States.”

The top 35 country standings are:


This is Cuba’s first year being ranked in the report yet already women in Cuba are ranked a full 9 places higher than women in the United States (as well as women in Japan and in Switzerland where women only got the right to vote in the last Canton in the 1980s).

Among the top-tier 35 countries, the countries with the greatest relative decreasing standard of living for women are:

#1: Tanzania (women’s global standing decreased by 8 places)
#2: The United States (women’s global standing decreased by 6 places)
#3: Macedonia (women’s global standing decreased by 5 places)
#4: Moldova and Canada [tied] (women’s global standing decreased by 4 places)

You can access the entire (lengthy) .pdf document on the gender gap, including the table included above, here.

23 Responses to “U.S. and Tanzania best at clawing back women’s rights”

  1. 1 Renegade Eye 9 November, 2007 at 7:16 pm

    Really interesting post.

    Atleast in the USA, we have a female Secretary of State (LOL).

  2. 2 paulitics 9 November, 2007 at 10:36 pm

    Thanks, I’m really glad you enjoyed it. I always love getting feedback — especially the good kind :)

  3. 3 JFK 9 November, 2007 at 10:59 pm

    If you believe any data coming out of Cuba you are clearly a Commie-wannabe and should move there immediately and find out the truth for yourself.

  4. 4 martinp 9 November, 2007 at 11:07 pm

    Comment deleted

  5. 6 paulitics 10 November, 2007 at 10:45 am

    JFK – Just wanted to point out that this report didn’t come out of Cuba, it came out of the World Economic Forum (who are predominantly hardcore capitalists).

  6. 7 paulitics 10 November, 2007 at 10:49 am

    martinp – While JFK’s point was made in jest, I do think he has some merit to it. The best way to find out what’s being done to Cuba by the US and what life is like there is to either a) go and visit it or b) talk with people who currently live in Cuba as opposed to the former oligarchs who fled to Miami with their money once Castro came to power.

    I don’t know of any Cuban solidarity groups in New Brunswick, but I do know that in Ottawa, one of my former professors who lives for 1/2 of the year in Cuba heads an extremely active Cuban solidarity network. If you ever swing by Ottawa, I can definitely put you in touch with them.

  7. 8 saskboy 10 November, 2007 at 1:59 pm

    Paul, I don’t remember leaving that comment under my name at 12:14.
    Could you check its IP address and compare it with this one, and let me know if they are different please?

  8. 9 Michael 10 November, 2007 at 3:36 pm

    One interesting thing about this table is the absence of Italy and France from the top 35, since these are big economies (G8 members). Also, in theory at least, some things related to equality of women are easier in France than, for example, Germany. I am thinking specifically of 1) the very high family allowance payments in France 2) the school system , which by starting kids in school at about age 3 (all day, too ) effectively provides free daycare.

    One could attribute Italy and France’s absence to aspects of mediterranean culture, but given that Spain is 10th, this seems unlikely.

  9. 10 martinp 10 November, 2007 at 7:59 pm

    the ‘real martinp’

    I’ll ante up with Saskboy, I never posted that comment about Cuba. I did go to ‘therealcuba.com’ and was pretty unimpressed. Most of it was stuff that I already knew. I’ve ALWAYS had concerns about Cuba, but not nearly as many as I have for most countries of the world, and none nearly as much as the US and of course right here at home.

    Don’t know whats going on with the names, two name swipes seem a little odd, you can always tell mine because I’m nothing if not long winded and a one sentence post from me is pretty unusual.

  10. 11 paulitics 10 November, 2007 at 8:47 pm

    The real martinp,

    Thanks for pointing that out to me. It appears as though it’s just the work of another troll. All of the 8 or so comments I received in the span of a couple of hours came from one or two IP addresses (including the person who stole your screen name and saskboy’s screen name).

    I’ve removed the offending comment accordingly.

  11. 12 martinp 10 November, 2007 at 9:40 pm

    I always thought a troll was just a bot or a spam ad, however, that was actually a pretty sneaky manouver-take somebody who was saying things about Cuba, then right after a recommendation to check out a website, make it sound like that person was now “converted”. I do recommend people take at least a quick look at the website http://www.therealcuba.com because there is some interesting stuff there. That way at least in a debate you can be sure what a critic is going to say about Cuba before they say it. In fact, virtually every current problem in Cuba has a far worse parrallel in Canada-Cuba is sending doctors to Venezuela, and it takes an awful lot of propaganda to keep people from thinking how hard it is in most of Canada now to find a GP.

    I know its off topic, but to add to this, heavily state run, or “socialist” or “communist” or at least the Soviet Union and Cuba have always been much more advanced on womens rights, even though women didnt have that much a higher level of political power. About five years after the Soviet Union collapsed I remember reading numerous stories, books, and articles on how many women engineers, doctors, lawyers and dentists were now prostitutes. Interesting that the soviet union is also not on that list, although Khazikstan is pretty far down the list too.

  12. 13 badteacher 10 November, 2007 at 10:31 pm


    I’d still choose the US over Sri Lanka, South Africa, Cuba or Lesotho. Any day.

    ANd really, anyone who says that a woman’s lot is better in Lithuania than in Canada (or the US) just hasn’t spent any time there. I’ve never seen a a more male-centric country than that. Well, besides Spain, which oddly also scores highly.

    C’mon, now… bullshit in, bullshit out.

  13. 14 paulitics 10 November, 2007 at 11:27 pm

    badteacher – care to elaborate the specifics of why the World Economic Forum’s data is wrong? It isn’t exactly like they just interviewed three people in Lithuania and then put the country where they subjectively felt best. Read the report, they go into detailed description of why each country ranks the way it does as well as the variables they used.

  14. 15 badteacher 10 November, 2007 at 11:47 pm

    Call it an intuition that stems from having actually been to the place. Nothing more than that.

  15. 16 martinp 11 November, 2007 at 11:53 am

    Personal experiences count for something, but not a lot. In north america as long as a tourist stays in ‘tourist’ areas then they may well think the US is heaven on earth and that there is no poverty anywhere. That’s as long as you don’t go where the poverty is, and as long as you don’t look too closely. In Canada it is much the same. That’s sort of like talking about prostitution, there must be no prostitution because in most places you don’t see prostitutes anymore. Of course all they’ve done is gone online and into massage parlours, but if you don’t SEE it, then it must not be there right?

    Meanwhile, go look at food bank statistics and the numbers which are working poor and specifically single mothers. But of course how many people travel around visiting emergency shelters, run down apartments, and food banks and soup kitchens. In Canada especially it is marginalized populations that are affected, in this case women, and the above poster doesn’t ‘sound’ like a woman so what ‘we’ prefer isn’t the case. Even though women are abused at a horrendous rate in North America, much higher than europe, where cultures may be ‘male centric’ but aren’t ‘male violent’, since ‘we’ aren’t hanging around visiting hospitals, police stations, or the hidden apartments where abused women are sequestered then ‘we’ don’t see the problem. That’s all thanks to the media which tells us what the problems are, and womens issues virtually never are mentioned.

    Of course that doesn’t mean they don’t exist-and thats the problem with going on things like ‘intuition’ or basing things on personal perspective.

  16. 17 martinp 11 November, 2007 at 12:20 pm

    Just to further the above, you can read the actual report and there is a point to what the above poster mentions about where he’d like to live. And thats because the report gauges the ‘gender gap’, NOT living conditions. So if living conditions are bad, but bad for everyone, then that country would fare better-which may explain why the Phillipines ranks so high (the one caveat for that would be the one benchmark looking at survival rates of one sex over the other.

    However, as mentioned, this is not a ‘left wing’ exercise, this is a very business friendly organization taking this on. Which means the statistics are ‘probably’ much worse than this lets on. For example, one of the benchmarks is wage parity between men and women, and the source they used for that was the “executive opinion survey”, hardly an objective or reliable source on the matter.

    So for something like wage parity, if you live in a country where the majority of the population isn’t unionized and disenfranchised, then there will be little difference between the pittance the men are paid, and the pittance that women are paid.

    Likewise, if NEITHER sexes have much access to education (many country’s wealthy simply send their children abroad to be educated) then obviously you won’t see much of a distinction. However, in a place like Canada if you suddenly find more single parent families, elderly parents needing care, and much higher tuition rates, then you may start to see differences in higher education. In Canada, we can note that its not so much that wage equity is the issue, its that women typically choose occupations that, while necessary, are simply not valued very highly in our society.

    Meanwhile, things like women in politics are very skewered (some might even say unimportant), because Canada and the US still have a first past the post electoral system that makes it difficult for women to be elected, which means parties tend to not favour them as much. So Canada and the US are falling behind on that because of our archaic electoral systems.

    If you compare political systems though and the advances in western economies what is quite shocking is the lack of difference between ‘advanced’ and ‘third world’ economies. The biggest difference remaining is in politics, because women in those areas still have little political authority or power.

    North America ranks well behind western europe for political power for women, in fact ‘we’ rank behind even sub saharan Africa, latin america, and asia. Thats NOT something to be proud of. Again, I’d suggest that a lot of that has to do with our electoral system. MMP and proportional representation tends to enable minority factions to gain power over time, whereas ours is stagnant. Just some more thoughts.

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  1. 1 Tanzania » Blog Archive » End of Parliament Trackback on 10 January, 2008 at 8:07 am

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