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Newsweek rankings: PHL is 17th 'best country for women'

September 21, 2011 12:18pm
The Philippines is among the 20 best countries for women, ranking 17th out of 165 countries, according to a ranking done by American news publication Newsweek.

The publication conducted the study, whose results were released earlier this week, to measure the state of women's progress in 165 countries around the world. To rank the countries, five areas affecting women's lives were considered:

  • Justice and treatment of women under the law;
  • Access to health;
  • Access to education;
  • Economics and workforce participation; and
  • Political power.

    An article on The Daily Beast, a partner publication of Newsweek, said that data used in the rankings were from the United Nations and the World Economic Forum, among others, and experts and academics were consulted in measuring 28 factors for the rankings.

    According to the rankings, the best country for women is Iceland, garnering a perfect 100 overall score. Sweden, Canada, Denmark, and Finland were second, third, fourth, and fifth, respectively.

    United States of America, meanwhile, was ranked eighth, with an overall score of 89.9.

    Best Countries for Women
    (Top 20)
    1. Iceland
    2. Sweden
    3. Canada
    4. Denmark
    5. Finland
    6. Switzerland
    7. Norway
    8. United States of America
    9. Australia
    10. Netherlands
    11. New Zealand
    12. France
    13. Luxembourg
    14. Portugal
    15. Republic of Macedonia
    16. Republic of Moldova
    17. Philippines
    18. Belgium
    19. United Kingdom
    20. Romania

    Click here to view full list
    The Philippines, which scored 86.3 out of a total 100 points, was ranked number 17, and is also the highest ranking Asian country on the list. The second highest ranking Asian country is China, which is 23rd.

    The lowest ranked countries on the list are Yemen (163rd), Afghanistan (164th), and Chad (165th), where only 20 percent of adult women can read.

    The Philippines scored the following in the five categories:

  • Justice: 88.4
  • Health: 57.0
  • Education: 92.2
  • Economics: 89.1
  • Politics: 85.6

    The results of the study released to the public, however, did not elaborate on the 28 factors used to measure each category for the rankings.

    Equal rights, open economic opportunities

    "Countries with the highest scores tend to be clustered in the West, where gender discrimination is against the law, and equal rights are constitutionally enshrined," wrote The Daily Beast. It added that in some low-raking countries like Saudi Arabia (147th), women are not even allowed to drive.

    The rankings also noted that the top 20 countries, including the Philippines, all have democratically elected governments, while the countries that ranked last are poor and largely dependent on aid from the West, with some ripped apart by war.

    But no index can account for everything, The Daily Beast said. "Declaring that one country is better than another in the way that it treats more than half its citizens means relying on broad strokes and generalities... and cross-cultural comparisons can't account for differences of opinion," it wrote.

    However, it said that the results of the rankings back up a statement made by US Secretary of State Hillary Clinton at the Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation summit last week. Clinton said that when the economic potential of women is liberated, it produces a "ripple effect" where economic performances of nations and countries are also elevated.

    "There is a stimulative and ripple effect that kicks in when women have greater access to jobs and the economic lives of our countries: Greater political stability. Fewer military conflicts. More food. More education opportunity for children," Clinton said.

    "By harnessing the economic potential of all women, we boost opportunity for all people," she added. — RSJ, GMA News
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