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MacSwan writes: "The US, the world's biggest economy, ranks below Kazakhstan and Algeria for gender equality, according to a report showing the countries that offer the most opportunities for girls."

People queue at a free medical clinic in Wise, Virginia. (photo: Pete Marovich/Bloomberg/Getty)
People queue at a free medical clinic in Wise, Virginia. (photo: Pete Marovich/Bloomberg/Getty)

US Ranks Lower Than Kazakhstan and Algeria on Gender Equality

By Anna MacSwan, Guardian UK

11 October 16


Study to mark International Day of the Girl shows poorest countries offer fewest opportunities for girls, but world’s richest nation also disappoints

he US, the world’s biggest economy, ranks below Kazakhstan and Algeria for gender equality, according to a report showing the countries that offer the most opportunities for girls.

Niger was named the worst country in the Girls’ Opportunity Index, compiled by Save the Children to mark International Day of the Girl.

The US came 32nd in the index due to its low representation of women in parliament, high teenage pregnancy rates and and its record on maternal deaths. Fourteen women died per 100,000 live births in the US in 2015, a similar number to Uruguay and Lebanon.

Save the Children’s head of inclusive development, Lisa Wise, one of the report’s authors, said that the low ranking of the US was surprising. “It’s one of those cases where it should be performing better.” For Wise, it highlighted that the issue of gender equality isn’t unique to developing countries. “Girls in relation to boys are denied their opportunities in high-income countries too.”

Chad, Central African Republic, Mali and Somalia were among the five states with the lowest rankings in the index of 144 countries.

Wise said that it was no coincidence that the bottom 20 countries were among the world’s poorest states. The index showed an intersection between household income and girls’ rights, she said. “These countries have a high proportion of girls who are extremely poor. You have households forced to make extremely difficult decisions. There is a toxic mix between income poverty and those indicators across the board.”

Niger, which is the least developed country in the UN’s human development index, is plagued by drought, insurgency and an influx of refugees from conflict in surrounding states. The country has the highest rate of child marriage in the world, with 76% of women now aged 20 to 24 married before they were 18. The majority of the 25 countries with the highest rates of child marriage globally are considered fragile states or at high risk of natural disaster.

However, some low-income countries defied trends by performing relatively well. Rwanda has the highest proportion of female MPs in the world. With 64% of parliamentary seats held by women, the country came 49th in the index – well ahead of its neighbours Burundi and Tanzania, at 107 and 118 respectively, and Brazil, an upper-middle income country at 102.

Globally, only 23% of parliamentary seats are held by women. Qatar and Vanuatu have no female MPs.

Nepal scored higher than other low-income countries, due to its relatively strong lower-secondary school completion rate for girls, which, at 86%, is similar to Spain’s.

Wise said that such exceptions show “change is possible, even if you have a relatively low level of government resources to do so”, and that governments should put gender equality and girls at the forefront of their planning and budgeting.

In Nepal, for example, there is a mandatory minimum local budget allocation for women, children and so-called lower castes, and affirmative action to increase the number of female teachers. In March, the country launched a strategy to end child marriage.

“It’s not an inevitability that low income equals gender inequality,” Wise added.

Sweden was named the best country in the world to be a girl, followed by Finland, Norway, the Netherlands and Belgium. The UK was ranked 15th.

Danny Vannucchi, international campaigns manager at Plan International UK, which lobbied for the creation of International Day of the Girl, said girls all too often bear the brunt of poverty. “Girls are often the first to be taken out of school during times of economic uncertainty and forced into work or early marriage.

“Many child brides give birth before their bodies are ready, facing health complications, and are often subjected to a life of violence and abuse.” your social media marketing partner


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+11 # CL38 2016-10-11 14:43
And there, ladies and gentlemen, is the truth of the state of women the world over. No matter how hard women work to change their lives, too many countries, including the UNITED STATES of AMERICA do everything possible to make this as difficult as possible.

Feminists worked successfully for 40 years for women's rights only to see Republican authoritarian men launch a campaign of hate to dismantle many of our gains, while passive, indifferent Democratic men stood by and watched.
+2 # guomashi 2016-10-11 19:37
That is just one more reason why both Democrat and Republican parties have to be destroyed. Their lock on oppression is destroying US.

They only survive because of votes and donations. (hint, hint)
-13 # babaregi 2016-10-11 23:59
Quoting CL38:
And there, ladies and gentlemen, is the truth of the state of women

The women have it pretty good compared to the men in the USA.

We don't even have a 'boys' day here.

For every alpha male in charge you point to, there are 100's of forgotten men living homeless on the streets.

Girls are outpacing boys in school and in work here because the system is set up for them while everyone is rooting for them and ignoring boys in this gynocentric society.

They know they aren't valued and are drugging up or dropping out with video games and you wonder why they aren't 'manning up' for the shitty program offered to them with women that think men are inferior to them and take them for suckers in divorce court.

Even Brad Pitt can't make it work these days with the modern western woman, LOL.

You've accomplished 'woman's lib' but you still hold up the victim card to get more attention. You are still crying the same story in your 70's as a battle-hardened feminist from the days when some things were arguably tilted against women (and worse for a lot of men, dying in battle etc.)

Most of the activist women realized that they got what they wanted and settled down but the extremists continued on, populating the universities and indoctrinating new generations with their fanatical 'gender studies' departments.

No sane man wants to see women suffer and that is why you have seen progress for yourselves because men do want to please women.
+2 # CL38 2016-10-12 16:45
Absolutely false. Don't know whether you're male or female, but these are the same arguments MRA's use to scapegoat women and women's gains--gains WE FOUGHT FOR FOR FOUR DECADES, despite misogyny and ongoing sabotage. One blatant example was the ERA Amendment that Mitt Romney's father (as Governor of Michigan) sabotaged by painting feminists as deviant perverts. Phyllis Schlafly sold women out as well.

Oppression is built into patriarchy by forcing both men and women into rigid boxes and punishing those who opt out with a lack of support and disdain. Men need to do what many women have done for 40 years. Get together and assess where you are and where you need to go, figure out how to get there and work together to make that happen.

Blaming women for the problems men face today is both ironical and absolutely false.

If you are a woman posting, you seem to identify with that white authoritarian MRA contingent that perpetually blames women for issues men face today.
0 # RLF 2016-10-12 05:01
I'm sorry but if you think women are better off in Algeria??? I think there is something wrong here...and that is not because I don't think we have a long way to go in this country. I just think...Algeria ???
+5 # guomashi 2016-10-11 19:36
Looks like Kazakhstan and Algeria are at least two more countries we will have to invade in order to bestow the blessings of peace, liberty and democracy upon those poor deluded souls for the way they treat their women.
+4 # lorenbliss 2016-10-12 03:03
I'm surprised Ms. Wise is surprised at the USian Imperial Homeland's relatively low ranking. She must get her "news" from the Ministry of Propaganda (aka "mainstream media") rather than from less censored sources.

Otherwise she'd recognize the signature destitution imposed by capitalist governance: absolute power and unlimited profit for the One Percent and its Ruling Class vassals, total subjugation for all the rest of us.

And now that hackers have shown us the real Hillary -- the Goldwater Girl who closeted her ideological malevolence until she had the opportunity to spring it on us -- we know with absolute certainty it will get much much much worse: deadly cuts in Social Security, Medicare and Medicaid; probable elimination of food stamps; the nullification of what little remains of our constitutional rights, millions more jobs stolen by free trade, who knows how many young men and women killed in ever-expanding foreign aggression...

(Were I a betting man, which I'm not, I'd wager Big Time the USian position on the Girls' Opportunity Index is declining [just like every other indicator of USian quality of life], and that next year it will be worse.)

As I said: capitalist governance in action.
-4 # 2016-10-12 08:33
This ranking is ludicrous on its face.

Algeria imposes sharia law on all family issues. That means that if a divorce occurs, the children will be given to the father -- never the mother. That means if a man with a wife and son dies, 87.5% of the family money goes to the son and the widow only gets 12.5% In addition, more than a quarter of Algerian women are illiterate and only 15% have jobs.

And Kazakhstan could be worse: in most of the country, men routinely abduct underage women to marry them, often in order to avoid paying the "bride price." The even have a term for the practice, "alyp qashu." And among Kazakh Muslims (i.e.,more than 70% of the population) , only 9% are pro-choice, only 9% approve of sex outside of marriage, 1% accept lesbianism, and 18% think polygamy is fine -- just to name a few anti-woman social attitudes from the most recent Pew polls.

I cannot think any American woman in her right mind would prefer to live in Algeria or Kazakhstan.

Lee Nason
New Bedford, Massachusetts
+2 # CL38 2016-10-12 16:51
Nothing like glossing over the facts and dismissing women's and middle class and poor men's continued struggle right here in the good old US haven for the authoritarian 1% white male domain.
+2 # Kootenay Coyote 2016-10-12 09:03
They torture people & kill black ones freely here too.

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