Women’s Status Worldwide: Best and Worst Places

International Women's Day

Editor’s Note: To commemorate International Women’s Day, Yahoo! Shine profiles the best and worst places in the world for women, and highlights some of the key findings from an analysis conducted by the UK’s The Independent.

In honor of the 101 st International Women’s Day on Thursday, March 8, London-based The Independent analyzed women’s status around the world based on 20 criteria. Some of the results are brutal: in South Sudan, the worst place to give birth, there are fewer than 20 midwives to serve the entire country. Other statistics offer hope for women as they advance in the 21st Century. Women’s literacy in Lesotho outpaces men’s, and women have served as head of state in Sri Lanka for 23 years.

[ Also see: Oscar Winner “Saving Face” – Important Film for Women’s Rights ]

At the 2011 session of the Commission on the Status of Women at the United Nations, Michelle Bachelet, the head of UN Women, pointed out in her closing remarks: “Education and equal access and participation in science and technology for women of all ages are not only imperative for achieving gender equality and the empowerment of women — they are also an economic necessity, providing women with the knowledge and understanding necessary for lifelong learning, employment, better physical and mental health, as well as full participation in social, economic and political development.” More than that, the status of women and girls is, at its heart, a moral issue that mirrors the progress of human rights within society in general.

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