Countries With the Highest Rates of Working Women

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The inequality between men and women in terms of economic opportunities has always been a problem, but there are signs the gap is closing, albeit slowly, according to the World Economic Forum’s (WEF) 2018 Global Gender Gap Report.

In its annual report, WEF reviewed the percentages of men and women working, economic opportunities, educational attainment, health status, and political empowerment to measure overall gender equality in 149 countries.

When it comes to a country’s share of men and women participating in the labor force, some nations fare better than others. And, many of these are not, as some might expect, in the rich and developed world. Eight of the top 10 countries are in Africa and Southeast Asia.

Still, it’s important to make the distinction that the report is not a ranking of the best places for women to live in. For example, even though Nepal ranks third among countries with the highest share of women working, it does not mean that women there are overall better off than women in the United States, which ranks 56th.

Globally, a higher share of the male population is employed. This is not the case in only three countries — Rwanda, Mozambique, and Burundi. And even there the percentages are very close. Overall, despite the fact that more and more women in general are working, they are almost always underrepresented in government and occupy significantly fewer top positions in business.

The following list is based on the World Economic Forum’s 2018 Global Gender Gap Report, which compares 149 countries and their progress toward gender parity. One of the measures is economic participation and opportunity, which includes labor participation for both working-age (15 and over) men and women. That includes those who are looking for a job, as well as those who are already employed. The share of women in professional and technical jobs, as well as the share of women working in top positions, also came from the report.

Click here to see which countries have higher rates of women working than men.