The worst countries for women around the world

Demonstrators march down famous Istiklal street during a rally for International Women's Day on March 8, 2017 in Istanbul, Turkey.

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Demonstrators march down famous Istiklal street during a rally for International Women’s Day on March 8, 2017 in Istanbul, Turkey.
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Getty Images

Thursday is International Women’s Day, which celebrates the ongoing movement for women’s rights.

To measure the world’s progress toward gender equality, the World Economic Forum (WEF) created the Global Gender Gap Index a decade ago.

The most recent report, published in November 2017, analyzes four main dimensions: economic participation and opportunity, educational attainment, health and survival, and political representation. Looking at 144 countries, the WEF concludes that an average global gender gap of 32% remains, compared to 31.7% in 2016. Globally, the widest gaps between women and men exist in economic opportunity and political representation.

A slight upside: Since 2016, 82 countries have improved their overall gender gap score.

The countries with the widest gender gaps are below (with #1 ranking as the worst).

Camilla Hodgson contributed to an earlier version of this story.


15. Qatar — This country has never elected a woman to parliament.

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Getty Images

14. Turkey — The vast majority of legislators, senior officials, and managers in this country are men. There are nearly no women in ministerial positions.

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Meral Aksener, a former Turkish interior minister and deputy parliament speaker, announces her new political party in Ankara, Turkey,.
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Thomson Reuters

However, Turkish law mandates equal pay for men and women.


13. Mauritania — Women do not have the same rights as men in marriage or after divorce, and companies are not required to pay men and women the same amount here.

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Mauritania’s President Mohamed Ould Abdel Aziz.
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REUTERS/Lintao Zhang

12. The Ivory Coast — In the past 50 years, there has not been a female head of state in this country.


11. Egypt — This country does not have non-discrimination laws in hiring and does not mandate equal pay.

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Thomson Reuters

10. Jordan — Women only received the right to vote here in 1974, and there are hardly any women working in ministerial positions today.

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Jordan’s King Abdullah, his wife Queen Rania, meet with U.S. Vice President Pence, and wife Karen, at the Royal Palace in Amman, Jordan.
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Thomson Reuters

9. Morocco — Daughters do not have inheritance rights in this country, and there have been no female heads of state to date.

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Women shout during a protest against official abuses and corruption in the town of Al-Hoceima, Morocco.
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Thomson Reuters

8. Lebanon — There are nearly no women working in parliament or ministerial positions in this country.

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Thomson Reuters

7. Saudi Arabia — Women could only vote and enroll in municipal elections starting in 2015. In June 2018, they will be permitted to drive for the first time.

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Reuters/Faisal Nasser

Source: BBC and The New York Times


6. Mali — In this country, women only have partial rights to land use, control, and ownership.

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Reuters

5. Iran — Women have just partial access to financial services here.

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Thomson Reuters

4. Chad — Women in this country are much less likely to be literate or educated than men.

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Marco Di Lauro / Getty Images

3. Syria — The vast majority of Syria’s workforce and those with political power are male.

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Russian President Vladimir Putin, Defense Minister Sergei Shoigu, and Syrian President Bashar al-Assad.
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Sputnik/Mikhail Klimentyev/Sputnik via REUTERS

2. Pakistan — This country does not have anti-discrimination hiring laws, nor does it require equal pay.

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Benazir Bhutto, the first Iranian female prime minister, who was later assassinated.
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Mian Kursheed / Reuters

To date, Iran has elected one female prime minister: Benazir Bhutto, who was assassinated in 2007 at the age of 54.


1. Yemen — This country has no women in parliament and has never had a female head of state. The law does not mandate equal pay, and women only have partial access to financial services.

Yemen also ranked as the country with the widest gender gap in 2016.