In these countries, men and women have equal rights

If you want to be on an equal footing with the men as a woman, you can best live and work in Belgium, Denmark, France, Latvia, Luxembourg or Sweden. Only those six countries have anchored gender equality in laws that affect work, according to research by the World Bank.

The World Bank examined gender inequality in 187 countries. In the past decade, women have gained more rights in the workplace in many countries. For example, 35 countries introduced laws to protect them from sexual harassment, benefiting as many as two billion women.

The World Bank made a ranking based on eight indicators. This concerns matters such as entitlement to a pension, maternity leave, the freedom to live and work where you want and rights to work at a company or to start working as an entrepreneur. Only six countries – Belgium, Denmark, France, Latvia, Luxembourg and Sweden – achieved the ‘perfect score’ of one hundred, which means that men and women have virtually equal rights.


Saudi Arabia scores by far the worst with 25.63 points. The average is 74.71. Buurland Nederland is in a twentieth place with a score of 94.38. The situation for women in the workplace

is thus comparable to that in countries such as Italy, Paraguay, Norway, the Czech Republic and Slovakia. The Netherlands can still improve with pension accrual during the time that women take care of children and with paid parental leave.

According to the vice president of the World Bank, Kristalina Georgieva, gender equality is important for economic growth. “Half the world’s population consists of women and we have a task to make the world a little better. But that will not work if we are stopped by legislation.”

The researchers note that, although much has improved over the past ten years, there is still a lot of work to be done. A score of one hundred does not directly mean one hundred percent equality. For example, women in the perfectly scoring Sweden still earn five percent less than their male colleagues.

“A missed opportunity. The world economy would increase by more than 140 trillion euros if women would earn as much as men. As women get a good job, societies become richer,” says Georgieva.

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