Syria was named the worst country for women this year, according to the Georgetown Institute for Women, Peace and Security, and the Peace Research Institute of Oslo’s global Women, Peace and Security Index. The index measures women’s well-being – based on factors such as justice, security, and inclusion – in 153 countries.
While the Nordic countries dominate the best countries for women’s list, the lowest-ranking countries on the index are historically more unstable and volatile.
Keep reading to see the 10 worst countries for women.
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Only 17% of women in Niger aged 15 to 24 are literate, according to a list compiled by ONE campaign (a non-profit aiming to fight extreme poverty and preventable disease).
Additionally, Save the Children released a 2016 report of the best and worst places for girls based on five indicators, which included child marriage and adolescent fertility rates, and Niger, where 76% of young women were reportedly married before they were 18, and one in five adolescent girls gave birth a year on average, scored the last place in a list of 144 countries.
According to a profile from UNICEF, 34% of women aged 15 to 49 in Sudan believe that a husband/partner is justified in hitting or beating his wife under certain circumstance, and that 34% of women aged 20 to 24 were married or in a union by the time they were 18.
According to a list compiled by ONE campaign, less than half (38%) of girls in Mali have completed primary school. Only 9% of women have parliamentary roles (a bleak figure compared to Rwanda, which has 64%), and 72% of the population lives on less than $2 a day.
- Suhaib Salem/Reuters
A 2010 United Nations fact sheet stated that one in five Iraqi women were subject to domestic violence, and a 2012 Ministry of Planning study found that at least 36% of married Iraqi women have experienced some form of abuse at the hands of their husbands.
6. Congo, Democratic Republic
Congo has the potential to be one of Africa’s richest nations, due to its wealth in natural resources – however, it remains one of the world’s least developed countries, with at least 7.5 million in dire need of humanitarian assistance.
5. Central African Republic
The Central African Republic (CAR) has been embroiled in violent armed conflict since 2013, and instances of violence against women, including rape, have been reported by the UN.
“Numerous cases of violence against women, in particular sexual abuse and rape, have been reported in all of the localities that Seleka combatants have passed through,” the Special Rapporteur on violence against women, Rashida Manjoo, reported in 2013.
- Naseer Ahmed/REUTERS
Violence against women and girls remains a serious concern in Pakistan, with offenses like child marriage, rape, murder “honor killings,” acid attacks, and domestic violence reportedly remaining prevalent.
According to the United Nations Population Fund, approximately 2.6 million women and girls in Yemen are at risk of gender-based violence, with 52,000 women at risk of sexual violence, including rape. According to World Report 2017, women in Yemen do not have equal rights to divorce, inheritance, or child custody as men in Yemen.
According to a Human Right’s Watch report, only 37% of Afghan women are literate, a third of girls are married before they turn 18 (and sometimes forced out of education), the country’s maternal mortality rate is high, and women’s civil liberties are overall restricted.
1. Syrian Arab Republic
Since March 2011, Syria has been engulfed in what has been referred to as “the worst humanitarian disaster of our time.” Rape and torture in secret prisons, malnutrition, and gender-based violence is reportedly an everyday reality.
“Gender-based violence continues to undermine the health, dignity, security and autonomy of its victims in Syria,” said Panos Moumtzis, the Regional Humanitarian Coordinator (RHC) for the Syria Crisis. “It’s imperative we do more.”