With an overall score of 0.893 Switzerland was beaten only by Norway (0.904) in the 2019 Women, Peace, and Security Index, which ranks 167 countries on women’s equality and well being.
The top ten countries were all in Europe while the worst ten were spread across central Asia, the middle east and Africa.
The index looks at 11 areas, which fall into the three categories of inclusion, justice and security.
Switzerland was strong across all 11 measures, scoring first in women’s perception of community safety (87.2%) and current intimate partner violence (0.9%).
One area where Switzerland (29.3%) trailed Norway (40.8%) was women’s share of parliamentary seats, a percentage set to rise after Switzerland’s recent parliamentary election. The percentage of women in the National Council, Switzerland’s parliament, rose from 32% to 42%, well ahead of the global average of 24%.
Other areas of Swiss strength in its treatment of women were organised violence – the number of war related deaths (0), mean years of schooling (13.4), the percentage of women using cellphones (93.7%), financial inclusion (98.9%), son bias (none), legal discrimination against women (14 laws that differentiate between men and women) and discriminatory norms measured by the percentage of men 15 years and older who disagreed with the proposition: “It is perfectly acceptable for any woman in your family to have a paid job outside the home if she wants one”. Only 2% of men in Switzerland disagreed with this statement.
The only area where Switzerland scored worse than last time was the percentage of women 25 and older who are employed1. This fell from 60.3% (2017) to 58.9% (2019). However, Switzerland’s female employment rate was still higher than several countries in the top ten, including Denmark (54.4%), Finland (51.6%), Austria (52.8%), the UK (55.6%), Luxembourg (54.8%) and the Netherlands (54%). The world leader on this measure was Ireland (68.6%).
Excluding war torn nations, Pakistan was ranked the worst place to be a woman. An average women there receives 3.7 years of education, has a 24.2% chance of working, a 34% chance of having a mobile phone and only a 7% chance of having a bank account. Only 20% of Pakistan’s parliament is female and women are widely discriminated against – 73% of men ages 15 years and older disagreed with the proposition: “It is perfectly acceptable for any woman in your family to have a paid job outside the home if she wants one.” However, Pakistan was far from having the worst rate of intimate partner violence (14.5%). South Sudan (47%), Afghanistan (46.1%) and Iraq (45.3%) had far higher rates.
2019 GIWPS report (in English)
1Note: Employed persons are all persons who worked at least one hour for pay or profit during the reference week or were temporarily absent from such work (Eurostat).