Special Report

Countries With the Highest Rates of Working Women

Hristina Byrnes, John Harrington

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25. Canada
> Women working or looking for a job: 74.6% (81.8% male)
> Share of women in professional and tech jobs: 57.6%
> Share of women in senior positions: 35.5%

The participation of women in the labor market in Canada has grown consistently since the 1950’s, rising rapidly before slowing down somewhat since 1990. The upward trend has resulted in higher salaries and higher median annual wages for women. Canada leads the way in the gender equality of its government positions, with slightly more than half being held by women.

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24. Belarus
> Women working or looking for a job: 74.7% (80.5% male)
> Share of women in professional and tech jobs: 70.8%
> Share of women in senior positions: 47.6%

Belarus, with a population of 9.5 million, scores well in terms of economic participation and opportunity for women. More than 70% of the professional and tech jobs in the landlocked nation are held by women, one of the highest percentages of the 149 countries ranked. Women occupy almost 48% of senior-level jobs in Belarus, a greater percentage than all but eight other countries reviewed by WEF.

Mothers and fathers in Belarus benefit from a generous child-care leave policy of three years, mandated by the government.

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23. New Zealand
> Women working or looking for a job: 75.1% (85.0% male)
> Share of women in professional and tech jobs: 55.5%
> Share of women in senior positions: 40.0%

Women in New Zealand earn on average 80% of what men earn, the seventh smallest gender pay gap in the world and the smallest in the East Asia and the Pacific region.

The country rose two spots since 2017 due to improvements in political empowerment of women. The increasing share of women in parliament has put New Zealand among the top 10 countries for overall gender equality for the first time.

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22. Barbados
> Women working or looking for a job: 75.2% (80.5% male)
> Share of women in professional and tech jobs: 55.7%
> Share of women in senior positions: 49.1%

The Caribbean nation has achieved virtual gender parity in literacy rates and enrollment in primary, secondary, and tertiary education. Almost 56% of professional and technical workers are female and the share of women in senior positions is approximately 50%.

Women still trail men by over $7,000 in estimated earned income. While women in Barbados occupy small minorities of government and political leadership positions — as is the case in most countries –. the country elected Mia Mottley as its first female prime minister last year.

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21. Netherlands
> Women working or looking for a job: 75.2% (84.4% male)
> Share of women in professional and tech jobs: 49.3%
> Share of women in senior positions: 26.6%

While the labor force participation rate of women in the Netherlands is among the highest in the world, the country’s gender pay gap remains relatively large at approximately 66%. This could be partly due to many women in the Netherlands choosing to work part-time, which is relatively common according to a report by the country’s Social and Cultural Planning Office. They like to have more time to spend on hobbies and social activities.

On the other hand, the report found Dutch women would also like to work more hours, and some would prefer to transition to full-time jobs.