Special Report

Most Dangerous Countries for Women

Detailed Findings

Despite the progress in some parts of the globe toward gender equality, the world largely remains a violent place for women. Estimates published by the World Health Organization indicate that about 35% of women worldwide have experienced either physical and/or sexual intimate partner violence or non-partner sexual violence during their lifetime. These violent encounters can have long-term psychological consequences for women, causing mental and physical problems, possibly leading to suicide. Sometimes, the violent abuser escalates to murdering his victim.

When Thomson Reuters last conducted the poll in 2011, Afghanistan topped the list as the most dangerous country in the world for women. The mountainous Asian nation made the list of the most dangerous countries for women this time, but it did not take the top ranking; that dubious distinction went to India.

Nations such as the Democratic Republic Of The Congo, South Sudan, Syria, and Somalia that have been destabilized by prolonged wars appear on the list as well. Saudi Arabia, Pakistan, and Afghanistan, where religious strictures have repressed women for hundreds of years, are also among the most dangerous countries for women.

A surprise entry on the list is the United States, the only Western nation to rank in the top 10. Thomson Reuters said the survey was taken after the #MeToo movement against sexual harassment shook the nation last year. After Hollywood movie titan Harvey Weinstein was accused of sexually harassing women for decades, hundreds of women went public about their experiences, recounting tales of influential men abusing their positions of power in media, politics, and entertainment.

The United States is tied with Syria as the third most dangerous country for women in terms of sexual violence. The U.S. also ranks sixth in terms of non-sexual violence, such as domestic physical and mental abuse.


24/7 Wall St. reviewed the list of the most dangerous countries for women based on data compiled by Thomson Reuters Foundation. Thomson Reuters asked 548 experts on women’s issues to name the most dangerous countries from the 193 member states of the United Nations. The foundation then asked respondents to name the worst country in six categories: access to health care; discrimination or inability to make a livelihood; cultural, tribal, and religious traditions or customary practices that can include forced marriage, stoning, and female genital mutilation; sexual violence such as rape and sexual harassment; non-sexual violence such as domestic physical and mental abuse; and human trafficking such as domestic servitude and sexual slavery. Additional source material was obtained from the World Bank, the United Nations Development Program, and the World Health Organization.

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