Women make up the majority of the U.S. workforce and an even larger majority of knowledge, professional, and creative workers. In a provocative and controversial essay in this magazine, Hannah Rosin argues that the post-industrial economy is better suited to the types of skills and capabilities women possess. The current economic crisis has been dubbed a "mancession" by some - as men in blue-collar jobs have borne the brunt of layoffs and unemployment.
But economic opportunity for women varies widely across the globe, according to an important new measure, the Women's Economic Opportunity Index, released recently by the Economist Intelligence Unit (EIU). The Index provides an empirical gauge of the status and opportunity afforded women across 113 nations. Spanning 26 separate variables on women in the labor market, educational outcomes and opportunity, women's legal and social status, access to finance, and the general business environment, it is drawn from data from the World Bank, the UN, the International Labour Organization, the World Economic Forum, and the OECD, along with a series of new indicators.
The map above, prepared by Zara Matheson based on the report's data, shows the rankings for the 113 nations covered by the Index. As the map shows, women's economic opportunity is substantially better in the more advanced, wealthier nations of Scandinavia and Northern Europe, the U.S. and Canada, Australia and New Zealand. Scandinavian and Northern European nations take the top five spots. Sweden tops the list, followed by Belgium, Norway, Finland, and Germany. Canada ranks ninth and the U.S. 15th.