Iceland Ranks Highest in Gender Equality

Iceland has ranked highest in the World Economic Forum’s 2015 index for advancements toward global gender equality. The report, published annually since 2006, is called the Global Gender Gap Index, and measures various sociological, economic, and political factors for 145 countries and ranks them accordingly. This is the seventh year in a row in which Iceland has topped the report’s charts.

In looking at gender equality for different nations, the report accounts for women’s ability to advance in the economy, take on political leadership, and access education. It also takes into consideration statistics based on health and survival. One of the significant factors in helping Iceland rise to the top of the index is the comprehensive paternity leave (90 days guaranteed), which enables both parents to engage equally with work and family, according to the report.

Scores to define the status of gender in society are given from 0 (inequality) to 1 (equality). Iceland’s score for 2015 is 0.881, compared to the country ranking last, Yemen, which scored 0.484. After Iceland, Norway comes in second, Finland third, Sweden fourth, and Ireland fifth.

The index is also useful for looking at gender equality for different countries from year to year. In Iceland’s case, not only has it ranked very high each year, but it also exhibits the most improvement from one year to the next. The arena where this is most obvious is in political empowerment, where 41% of parliamentarians in Iceland are women, 44% of ministers are women, and for twenty years out of the last fifty there was a female head of state in office.