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To be a woman: Canada best, India worst

File photo of a woman pretending to be gagged while taking part in a protest during International Women's Day in Mexico City

A woman pretends to be gagged while taking part in a protest during International Women’s Day in Mexico City in this March 8, 2011 file photo. A Thomson Reuters Foundation survey, polling 370 gender specialists, found Canada to be the best place to be a woman amongst G20 nations, excluding the European Union economic grouping. Saudi Arabia was the second worst, after India. The writing on the woman’s chest reads, “Neither a whore, nor crazy, nor a saint, just a woman.” REUTERS/Jorge Dan Lopez/Files

Policies that promote gender equality, safeguards against violence and exploitation and access to health care make Canada the best place to be a woman among the world’s biggest economies, a global poll of experts showed on Wednesday.

Infanticide, child marriage and slavery make India the worst, the same poll concluded.

Germany, Britain, Australia and France rounded out the top five countries out of the Group of 20 in a perceptions poll of 370 gender specialists conducted by TrustLaw, a legal news service run by Thomson Reuters Foundation.

The EU, which is a member of the G20 as an economic grouping along with several of its constituent countries, was not included in the survey.

The United States came in sixth but polarized opinion due to concerns about reproductive rights and affordable health care.

At the other end of the scale, Saudi Arabia — where women are well educated but are banned from driving and only won the right to vote in 2011 — polled second-worst after India, followed by Indonesia, South Africa and Mexico.

“In India, women and girls continue to be sold as chattels, married off as young as 10, burned alive as a result of dowry-related disputes and young girls exploited and abused as domestic slave labour,” said Gulshun Rehman, health program development adviser at Save the Children U.K., who was one of those polled.

“This is despite a groundbreakingly progressive Domestic Violence Act enacted in 2005 outlawing all forms of violence against women and girls.”

The Gender Inequality Index (GII), which looks at reproductive health, the labour market and empowerment of women through education and politics, named the same three countries as the worst places for women, although Saudi Arabia ranked the absolute worst in the GII, followed by India.

The GII, however, does not include gender-based violence or other elements such as the fact that many women carry additional burdens of caregiving and housekeeping.

When it came to what country was best, the expert perception did not match U.N. data. The GII ranked Germany, France and South Korea as the top three countries, in that order. Canada came seventh and the United States was in tenth place.


1. Canada

2. Germany

3. Britain

4. Australia

5. France

6. United States

7. Japan

8. Italy

9. Argentina

10. South Korea

11. Brazil

12. Turkey

13. Russia

14. China

15. Mexico

16. South Africa

17. Indonesia

18. Saudi Arabia

19. India
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»Canada best place to be a woman in G20, India worst: Poll


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