Special Report

Best Rich Countries For Working Women

kali9 / E+ via Getty Images

Despite significant advances in gender equality, men and women are still treated differently in what is a major barrier to social justice. Globally, women continue to play a lesser role than men in leadership and business. At least one report, by the World Economic Forum, shows that the COVID-19 pandemic has exacerbated existing inequalities. 

In its Global Gender Gap Report 2021, the WEF estimates that it will take 135.6 years to close the global gender gap, an increase from 99.5 years estimated in 2020. The gender gap comprises four key sunidices, of which the economic gender gap is the second largest. Current trends show that it will take another 267.6 years to close the gender economic gap. 

To identify the best countries for working women, 24/7 Wall St. reviewed The Economist’s glass-ceiling index, an annually updated measure of the role and influence of women in the workforce. The report only examines the 29 nation members of the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development, which consists mostly of high-income countries. We also considered the size of each country’s female labor force using data from the World Bank’s Gender Statistics database for 2019, the most recent available year. 

Northern and Western European countries rank among the best countries in the world for working women. Only two countries outside of Europe made the top 10 – New Zealand and Canada. The United States ranks below average among the OECD countries and its ranking has not changed at least since 2016. In the U.S., these are the worst states for women.

Click here to see the best rich countries for working women

Source: Asia-Pacific Images Studio / E+ via Getty Images

29. Korea
> 2016 Rank: 29
> Female labor force 2019 7,800,492 — #80 largest out of 235 countries
> Pct. of female labor force: 47.1% — #56 largest share out of 235 countries

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Source: kazuma seki / iStock via Getty Images

28. Japan
> 2016 Rank: 28
> Female labor force 2019 30,465,074 — #46 largest out of 235 countries
> Pct. of female labor force: 44.3% — #46 largest share out of 235 countries

Source: gevende / Getty Images

27. Turkey
> 2016 Rank: 27
> Female labor force 2019 11,087,013 — #68 largest out of 235 countries
> Pct. of female labor force: 33.3% — #68 largest share out of 235 countries

Source: bluecinema / E+ via Getty Images

26. Switzerland
> 2016 Rank: 26
> Female labor force 2019 2,326,212 — #124 largest out of 235 countries
> Pct. of female labor force: 46.9% — #124 largest share out of 235 countries

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Source: Giorgos Kritsotakis / Getty Images

25. Greece
> 2016 Rank: 21
> Female labor force 2019 2,110,052 — #132 largest out of 235 countries
> Pct. of female labor force: 43.8% — #132 largest share out of 235 countries

Source: Eva-Katalin / E+ via Getty Images

24. Hungary
> 2016 Rank: 9
> Female labor force 2019 2,148,741 — #129 largest out of 235 countries
> Pct. of female labor force: 45.2% — #129 largest share out of 235 countries

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Source: nantonov / iStock via Getty Images

23. Czech Republic
> 2016 Rank: 25
> Female labor force 2019 2,431,100 — #120 largest out of 235 countries
> Pct. of female labor force: 44.7% — #120 largest share out of 235 countries

Source: RuslanDashinsky / E+ via Getty Images

22. Israel
> 2016 Rank: 16
> Female labor force 2019 1,979,899 — #133 largest out of 235 countries
> Pct. of female labor force: 47.6% — #133 largest share out of 235 countries

Source: Jay Yuno / E+ via Getty Images

21. Netherlands
> 2016 Rank: 24
> Female labor force 2019 4,345,944 — #96 largest out of 235 countries
> Pct. of female labor force: 46.4% — #96 largest share out of 235 countries

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Source: kali9 / E+ via Getty Images

20. United States
> 2016 Rank: 20
> Female labor force 2019 77,245,166 — #39 largest out of 235 countries
> Pct. of female labor force: 46.2% — #39 largest share out of 235 countries

Source: Wavebreakmedia / iStock via Getty Images

19. Ireland
> 2016 Rank: 23
> Female labor force 2019 1,113,012 — #157 largest out of 235 countries
> Pct. of female labor force: 45.8% — #157 largest share out of 235 countries

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Source: bluejayphoto / iStock via Getty Images

18. Germany
> 2016 Rank: 19
> Female labor force 2019 20,309,923 — #57 largest out of 235 countries
> Pct. of female labor force: 46.3% — #57 largest share out of 235 countries

Source: monkeybusinessimages / iStock via Getty Images

17. United Kingdom
> 2016 Rank: 22
> Female labor force 2019 16,294,944 — #60 largest out of 235 countries
> Pct. of female labor force: 47% — #60 largest share out of 235 countries

Source: deimagine / E+ via Getty Images

16. Italy
> 2016 Rank: 17
> Female labor force 2019 11,009,185 — #69 largest out of 235 countries
> Pct. of female labor force: 42.7% — #69 largest share out of 235 countries

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Source: amriphoto / E+ via Getty Images

15. Austria
> 2016 Rank: 18
> Female labor force 2019 2,145,463 — #130 largest out of 235 countries
> Pct. of female labor force: 46.4% — #130 largest share out of 235 countries

Source: pixdeluxe / E+ via Getty Images

14. Australia
> 2016 Rank: 14
> Female labor force 2019 6,296,654 — #85 largest out of 235 countries
> Pct. of female labor force: 46.6% — #85 largest share out of 235 countries

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Source: Morsa Images / DigitalVision via Getty Images

13. Spain
> 2016 Rank: 13
> Female labor force 2019 10,771,515 — #70 largest out of 235 countries
> Pct. of female labor force: 46.4% — #70 largest share out of 235 countries

Source: FlamingoImages / iStock via Getty Images

12. Denmark
> 2016 Rank: 7
> Female labor force 2019 1,423,608 — #144 largest out of 235 countries
> Pct. of female labor force: 47.1% — #144 largest share out of 235 countries

Source: MarianVejcik / iStock via Getty Images

11. Slovak Republic
> 2016 Rank: 15
> Female labor force 2019 1,248,817 — #152 largest out of 235 countries
> Pct. of female labor force: 45.4% — #152 largest share out of 235 countries

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Source: chinaface / E+ via Getty Images

10. Canada
> 2016 Rank: 10
> Female labor force 2019 9,799,517 — #72 largest out of 235 countries
> Pct. of female labor force: 47.2% — #72 largest share out of 235 countries

Source: Xantana / iStock via Getty Images

9. Poland
> 2016 Rank: 5
> Female labor force 2019 8,144,147 — #79 largest out of 235 countries
> Pct. of female labor force: 44.5% — #79 largest share out of 235 countries

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Source: davidf / E+ via Getty Images

8. New Zealand
> 2016 Rank: 11
> Female labor force 2019 1,334,970 — #148 largest out of 235 countries
> Pct. of female labor force: 47.9% — #148 largest share out of 235 countries

Source: Michael Blann / DigitalVision via Getty Images

7. France
> 2016 Rank: 6
> Female labor force 2019 14,611,268 — #62 largest out of 235 countries
> Pct. of female labor force: 48.1% — #62 largest share out of 235 countries

Source: sorincolac / iStock via Getty Images

6. Belgium
> 2016 Rank: 8
> Female labor force 2019 2,374,690 — #123 largest out of 235 countries
> Pct. of female labor force: 46.2% — #123 largest share out of 235 countries

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Source: Octavio Passos / Getty Images News via Getty Images

5. Portugal
> 2016 Rank: 12
> Female labor force 2019 2,603,088 — #112 largest out of 235 countries
> Pct. of female labor force: 49.2% — #112 largest share out of 235 countries

Source: Isbjorn / E+ via Getty Images

4. Norway
> 2016 Rank: 3
> Female labor force 2019 1,329,107 — #149 largest out of 235 countries
> Pct. of female labor force: 47% — #149 largest share out of 235 countries

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Source: scanrail / iStock via Getty Images

3. Finland
> 2016 Rank: 4
> Female labor force 2019 1,319,487 — #150 largest out of 235 countries
> Pct. of female labor force: 48% — #150 largest share out of 235 countries

Source: erikreis / iStock / Getty Images Plus

2. Iceland
> 2016 Rank: 1
> Female labor force 2019 101,777 — #218 largest out of 235 countries
> Pct. of female labor force: 47.2% — #218 largest share out of 235 countries

Source: Drazen_ / Getty Images

1. Sweden
> 2016 Rank: 2
> Female labor force 2019 2,601,041 — #113 largest out of 235 countries
> Pct. of female labor force: 47.7% — #113 largest share out of 235 countries

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