- The Straits Times
We all want to live in a safe place, where crime, healthcare and getting a job are the least of our worries. But it can be difficult to find the ideal city to safely live and work in – especially for women.
According to a study by ValueChampion, a financial analysis and comparison site, the safest country in Asia Pacific for women to live in is none other than Singapore.
Based on “publicly available data”, ValueChampion ranked Singapore and New Zealand in joint first place in a list of the safest countries for women to live in, citing their “impressive healthcare, safety and opportunity indicators”.
The study published on Tuesday (Mar 5) ranked 14 countries in Asia Pacific using a weighted average which weighted safety the most, followed by healthcare and opportunity.
It said that Singapore and New Zealand have consistently scored well on global indices – such as the 2018 Global Peace Index and 2018 Human Development Index.
This indicates that Singapore and New Zealand have “low levels of internal and international conflicts, suffer minor gender inequality and see positive developmental and opportunity growth potential”, it said.
Furthermore, according to the study, Singapore and New Zealand have low crime rates and existing laws against marital rape, domestic assault and sexual harassment. Singapore even has “one of the lowest homicide rates in the world”, it added.
Apart from low crime rates and existing laws, both countries also have “impressive health indicators”.
Their life expectancy is 11 to 12 years above the global average, with infant and maternal mortality rates being “significantly below average”, indicating that women have access to high quality healthcare, adequate pre-natal and post-natal medical care and proper nutrition and sanitation, the study said.
The study added that in most cases, women in Singapore and New Zealand “would not be penalised for leading a sexually active lifestyle” as they have access to contraception, sexual education and family planning.
Women in both countries are also better able to improve their economic status with access to high levels of education, literacy and employment, and equal-opportunity protections.
Although Singapore clinched the top spot in the list, the study brought up some points which the city-state can improve on.
An increase of 12 per cent in “outrage of modesty” cases between 2017 and 2018 indicates that sexual harassment is “still a concern”, the study said.
It also added that Singapore’s “ambiguous” marital rape immunity law is still in the process of being repealed.
“The good news is that the majority of Singaporeans believed that husbands using force or coercion to get sex from their wives was morally wrong, indicating the lack of regulation is due to outdated legal code rather than societal values,” it said.
Rounding off the top five safest Asian countries are Australia in third place, followed by Japan in fourth and Taiwan in fifth.
The worst performers on the list are the Philippines, Indonesia and India, where there are “subpar access to healthcare, lax laws regarding women’s safety, poor access to family planning resources and overall inequality”, the study said.
It added: “Despite government interventions and attempts to enact laws that protect women’s safety, deeply entrenched patriarchal attitudes either due to cultural or religious beliefs led to women fearing for their well-being more often than in other countries on our list.
Here’s the full list of all 14 countries in Asia Pacific ranked by ValueChampion for women’s safety: