Women, Thinking About Relocating?

In honor of International Women’s Day, Foreign Policy has a roundup of five surprisingly good places to be a woman.  The Philippines, Spain, South Africa/Lesotho, Latvia, and Cuba all make their list.  

While it may be hard to believe that women fare well in the very same country that hosted a “Blonde Weekend” back in 2009, Latvian women are excelling professionally: “As of 2010, women constituted 71 percent of the Baltic state’s university graduates, 50 percent of its Supreme Court judges, and 45 percent of those employed in its research and development sector. Latvia’s first female president, Vaira Vike-Freibergaoversaw Latvia’s entrance into the European Union in 2004.”

The Philippines’ record on gender equality is particularly impressive of late:

Not only does the Philippines appear eighth overall on WEF’s list, but it ranks first in “educational attainment” and “health and survival” and was the only Asian country to close the gender gap in those categories in 2011. Just this week, the country’s Senate passed a bill aimed at ending gender discrimination in the workplace. A 2009 “Magna Carta of Women” promises that the state will “provide the necessary mechanisms to enforce and guarantee the realization of women’s rights.

The “list” in question is the World Economic Forum’s Global Gender Gap Report of 2011.  The United States is ranked 17th.


So... by that logic women from the US must be dying to go to Cuba or the Philippines, right? Or are these measures and statistics totally useless?


Cuba's rated lower than the US.

And the report isn't comparing the general well-being of women around the world. It's comparing the relative role of women to men in each country. So being a woman from the Philippines is more favorable to being a man from the Philippines than being a woman from the US is favorable to being a man from the US.

The report makes no statement with respect to being a woman from the Philippines vs. a woman from the US. Also note that I'm using "favorable" only in the context of the considerations listed in the report.


... was the only Asian country to close the gender gap in those categories in 2011.

Wouldn't it be more accurate to say rather than "closing the gender gap" that it's gotten to the point where we simply stop caring? To quote the WEC Gender Gap Report (emphasis mine):

Our aim is to focus on whether the gap between women and men in the chosen variables has declined, rather than whether women are “winning” the “battle of the sexes”. Hence, the Index rewards countries that reach the point where outcomes for women equal those for men, but it neither rewards nor penalizes cases in which women are outperforming men in particular variables.


i guess Imelda Marcos' influence went beyond just shoes


So by the standards of this report, it's ok to be badly off in absolute terms, as long as men and women are equal?


@Phil : the title says "Women, Thinking about relocating?". So Jeff does have a point.

robyn g

Funny you should mention "relocating." I was thinking about where I might hide again, myself. The US was and still is the best place to be relatively free to pursue one's dream unencumbered. My daughter brought home a friend from college this weekend. She defies every single stereotype and is pursuing a career in museum preservation (having studied Japanese). what progress!

Jorge Jalmer

Dear friends,

Why Spain is a surprinsingly good places to be a woman? Please, forgot the sterotypes. Have you been en Spain? I guest no.

Thank you,