Yasmeen Mohiuddin

The University of the South

Sewanee, Tennessee, U.S.A.

The 1996 Conference of the

International Association for Feminist Economics

June 21-23, 1996

Session 24 C


Yasmeen Mohiuddin[*]

The purpose of the present paper is to formulate a composite index of the status of women and to rank both developed and developing countries on the basis of that index. This index is presented as an alternative or complement to the current status of women index, published by the Population Crisis Committee (PCC) and used by the World Bank and United Nations, which focuses on indicators measuring health, education, employment, marriage and childbearing, and social equality. The paper argues that these indicators have a poverty-bias and measure women's status in terms of structural change rather than in terms of their welfare vis-a-vis men. The PCC index is also based on the implicit assumption that women's status in developing countries ought to be defined in a similar way as in developed countries, thus including primarily only those indicators which are more relevant for developed countries. To remedy these defects, the paper presents an alternative composite index, hereafter labelled the Alternative Composite (AC) index, based on many more indicators reflecting women's issues in both developed and developing countries. The results of the statistical analysis show that the ranking of countries and regions based on the AC index is significantly different from the PCC index. Out of the seven overall rankings of `excellent', `very good', `good', `fair', `poor', `very poor', `and `extremely poor', the U.S. ranks poor in the AC index compared to very good in the PCC index, the U.S.S.R. ranks very good in the AC index compared to good in the PCC index, the Nordic countries generally rank fair in the AC index compared to very good in the PCC index, while South Asian countries rank extremely poor, and the eastern European countries good, in both indices. Similarly, all Muslim countries do not rank the worst, neither do all Nordic countries the best. In fact, several Latin American countries and a few African and Asian countries rank fair alongside some western European countries.

The paper is organized into four sections. Section II critically evaluates the PCC index of women's status. Section III explains how the new status of women index -- the AC index -- is formulated and ranks countries on the basis of this index. Section IV compares the two rankings, and concludes with policy implications.


All societies, modern or traditional, western or oriental, developed or developing, tend to overlook or minimize the economic contribution of women, and assign a secondary status to them. Worldwide, women grow about half the world's food, but most own no land. They constitute one-third of the official paid workforce, but are concentrated in the lowest paid occupations. They head one-third to one-fourth of families in terms of economic responsibility. They carry the main responsibility for childcare and household chores regardless of their contribution to household income. If they work outside the home, most work a double day, working longer hours and sometimes harder than men, but their work is typically unpaid/underpaid and undervalued. They are grossly underrepresented in institutions of government and decision-making. Despite the vast diversity between countries in terms of size, the level and rate of economic development, economic systems, religion/culture, political structure, etc., there is a striking similarity in the status accorded to women.

Everywhere in the world women are accorded a lower status than men. In the developed countries, women's lower status is manifest in women being paid considerably less than men in all occupational fields and industry categories, in their being largely confined to and concentrated in the least paying jobs in every sector, in their limited upward mobility, and in their greater family responsibilities due to divorce, abandonment, single motherhood, etc. In the developing countries of Asia, Africa and Latin America, women's lower status is reflected not only in their work being underpaid, underrecognized, and underenumerated, but also in their limited access to productive resources and support services such as health and education. Despite the universality of women's secondary status, however, their status does vary from one part of the world to another. There are inter-regional and inter-country differences in the status of women in all status indicators such as health, education, employment, domestic life, political representation, and legal equality, and in the extent of the gender gap in these. A composite status of women index should include these sub-components of status in order to do meaningful country rankings. The only index on the status of women is the PCC index (published by the Population Crisis Committee[1] and subsequently used in several World Bank and United Nations Reports).[2] In the PCC study of 99 countries representing 2.3 billion women (92% of the world's female population), 20 indicators measure women's well-being in five sectors: health, education, employment, marriage and childbearing, and social equality. In each area, three indicators compare women's status from country to country, for example, the percentage of girls in school, female mortality rate, etc. A fourth measures the relative size of the gender gap within countries, for example, the difference between male and female rates of literacy, life expectancies at birth, etc. The health indicators include female child mortality rates (measured as the percentage of girls born who die before their fifth birthday), female mortality rate in childbearing years (measured as the percentage of women aged 15 who will die before they reach the age of 45, based on current age-specific death rates for women), female life expectancy at birth, and gender gap in life expectancy. Education indicators include female enrollments at primary and secondary schools, percentage of women among secondary school teachers, female university enrollments, and gender gap in literacy rates. Employment indicators include female participation rate in paid employment, in self employment, in professions, and gender gap in paid employment. Marriage and childbearing indicators include total fertility rate, percentage of adolescent marriages, contraceptive prevalence and a gender gap variable of the ratio of widowed, divorced, or separated women to widowers and divorced or separated men. Finally, social equality indicators include equality in marriage and family reflected in divorce rights and in family law, economic equality reflected in right to own, manage and inherit real property, and political and legal equality reflected in legal protection against sex discrimination and political rights such as representation in political offices. There are thus a total of 20 indicators in 5 sectors in the PCC index.

In the PCC index, original data for each of these 20 indicators are converted to 5 point scales, giving a maximum score for each sector of 20 and a maximum total score of 100. Table I gives the overall ranking of a select group of countries. There are seven rankings, ranging from Excellent (scores of 90 to 100) to Extremely Poor (scores of 39.5 or less). Table I shows that only seven countries had total scores of 80 or above, giving them a rank of Very Good; whereas 51 out of 99 countries fell into the three bottom categories: Poor, Very Poor, and Extremely Poor. Sweden, with 87, scored highest. Bangladesh, with 21.5, scored lowest. The countries with the 10 worst scores are Bangladesh, Mali, Afghanistan, North Yemen, Pakistan, Nigeria, Saudi Arabia, Sudan, Malawi, and Senegal. Countries with the 10 best scores are Sweden, Finland, United States, East Germany, Norway, Canada, Denmark, Australia, Bulgaria, and Jamaica. This variation in the overall rank of countries from extremely poor to very good does not bring out the universality in women's lower status as outlined earlier. According to the PCC index, high-income countries such as the U.S., Canada, the Nordic countries, western Europe, as well as some former socialist countries rank the highest in women's status whereas low-income countries such as those of Africa, the Middle East and South Asia rank the lowest. The only exceptions are Switzerland (with a low score of 73 and a rank of 24), the rich oil-exporting Gulf region (with low scores below 50), the upper-income South American countries like Brazil (score of 54.5), and low-income countries like Sri Lanka and China (with high scores of 60 and 58.5 respectively). However, this association of income with status occurs because of the way the index has been constructed, and shows biased results leading to conclusions which are not supported by other evidence.

The most serious shortcoming of the PCC index is that it is heavily influenced by the extent of poverty or per capita income of a country. Consequently, the PCC index almost invariably assigns a high rank to high income countries and a low rank to low income countries. This is because it does not distinguish between the absolute status of women and the relative status of women vis-a-vis men. An index of women's status should measure, as it does in the case of the U.S., for example, the status of women relative to men, and comparisons between countries should focus on women's status relative to men's in one country compared to another. It should not compare the absolute position of women in one country to their position in the other. Thus the comparison of female literacy rates in two countries would be a poorer measure of women's status relative to men's than a comparison of the gender gap in literacy because the former is more a reflection of the income level of the two countries rather than of women's status per se. In a poor country, literacy rates are low both for poor men and poor women; the gender gap measures the relatively greater disadvantage for women. The PCC index uses several such poverty-biased indicators of women's health (such as female mortality rates, female life expectancy, adolescent marriages) and of education (such as female literacy rates, enrollments rates) which lead to the predicted result that women's status is positively related to income. But high income or growth does not guarantee high status for women any more than markets do[3], unless an enabling environment is in place. Thus only gender gap variables are relevant in constructing an index measuring the status of women relative to men, and only such variables are included in the new AC index.[4]

The PCC index is also based on the implicit assumption that women's status in developing countries ought to be defined in a similar way as in developed countries. Thus, in the employment sector, the index overemphasizes paid employment since two of the four indicators are based on it: female participation rate in paid employment and gender gap in paid employment. But paid employment is not the major form of employment for women (or men) in developing countries, and as such is not a good measure of their labor force participation. The major form of economic activity for women in these countries is unpaid family work in the rural sector, or self-employment in the urban informal sector.[5] Moreover, an index which overemphasizes paid employment and excludes other employment indicators would not reflect the characteristics of labor markets in either developed or developing countries. In developed countries, for example, women workers are segregated into low-paying occupations whereas in developing countries occupational segregation is manifest in other ways. It has been argued[6] that countries with a traditional Chinese culture[7] or predominantly Hindu or Muslim populations have more restrictive attitudes towards women's participation in sales and clerical jobs than elsewhere. In Muslim countries, there is no restriction on women's employment per se, but there is a sort of a social censure on work done outside the home or the family farm. Similarly, it is socially unacceptable for women to work in an environment where sex seclusion cannot be assured such as trade, sales, clerical, and even administrative jobs. For example, in South East Asia, there is basically a `female trade pattern' ( Myanmar, Thailand, Laos, the Philippines, Vietnam and even Indonesia) except in areas of Chinese, Muslim, or Hindu influence (such as Singapore, Taiwan and Hong Kong, or India, Pakistan, Bangladesh, Nepal) so that a belt of male trade runs from North India and Pakistan through Malaysia to Western Indonesia. Within this belt only one tenth of the traders are women, as against one half outside this belt. The overall employment indicator should reflect these characteristics of the labor markets in addition to female participation rate in paid employment, which the PCC index fails to do, but the AC index does.

Several indicators within and between sectors in the PCC index reflect similar phenomenon, and are thus redundant. Worse still, they increase the weight on certain indicators. Thus female infant mortality, female life expectancy at birth, and gender gap in life expectancy at birth all measure more or less similar variables: the health gender gap variable should suffice. Similarly, female mortality rate (listed as a health indicator), and total fertility rate, contraceptive prevalence, adolescent marriages (all 3 listed as marriage & childbearing indicators) measure, in fact, women's health and so could be combined into one variable.[8] All together, there are seven indicators on health out of a total of 20, making the PCC index largely a health index which not surprisingly is highly correlated to poverty. Then again, in the employment sector, three variables--female participation rate in paid employment, in professions, and gender gap in paid employment--all measure women's participation in paid employment.

Table I : Country Rankings Of Women's Status By Old PCC Index

COUNTRIES              INDEX              COUNTRIES                    INDEX 
Very Good                                 Peru                          57.5
Sweden                  87                Thailand                      57.5 
Finland                 85                Dominican Republic            57  
United States           82.5              Paraguay                      57
Germany, East           82                El Slavador                   55.5   
Norway                  81.5              Brazil                        54.5   
Canada                  80.5              Nicaragua                     54.5   
Denmark                 80                Botswana                      53     
                                          South Africa                  52.5   
Good                                      Turkey                        52.5   
Australia               79.5              Honduras                      52     
Bulgaria                78                Jordan                        50     
Jamaica                 77.5                                                   
Belgium                 77                Very Poor                            
Czecholslovakia         77                Kuwait                        49.5   
Hungary                 77                Tunisia                       49     
USSR                    77                Algeria                       47.5   
New Zealand             76.5              Bolivia                       47     
France                  76                Iraq                          47     
Germany, West           76                Zimbabwe                      47     
Austria                 75.5              Indonesia                     46.5   
Poland                  75.5              Guatemala                     46     
Netherlands             75                Lesotho                       45.5   
United Kingdom          74.5              Kenya                         45     
Barbados                74                Mozambique                    44.5   
Italy                   74                Haiti                         43.5   
Switzerland             73                India                         43.5   
Yugoslavia              72                United Arab Emirates          43     
Portugal                71.5              Zambia                        42     
Israel                  71                Cameroon                      40     
Greece                  70                Syria                         40     
Spain                   70                                                     
Uruguay                 70                Extremely Poor                       
                                          Tanzania                      39.5   
Fair                                      Morocco                       39     
Costa Rica              69.5              Rwanda                        38.5   
Hong Kong               69.5              Benin                         38     
Cuba                    69                Egypt                         38     
Japan                   68.5              Nepal                         37     
Argentina               68                Libya                         36.5   
Romania                 68                Liberia                       34     
Trinidad & Tobago       68                Senegal                       33 
Panama                  67.5              Malawi                        32     
Taiwan                  67                Sudan                         31.5   
Venezuela               67                Saudi Arabia                  29.5   
Singapore               66.5              Nigeria                       29     
Ireland                 66                Pakistan                      28     
Philippines             64                Yemen, North                  26.5   
Korea, South            62                Afghanistan                   26     
Mexico                  61.5              Mali                          26     
Ecuador                 61                Bangladesh                    21.5   
Colombia                60                                                     
Sri Lanka               60                                                     

Chile                   59.5                                                   
Guyana                  59.5                                                   
China                   58.5                                                   
Malaysia                58                                                     
Source: Population Crisis Committee, 1988. Population Briefing Paper No. 20. Washington, D.C.

The PCC index also fails to incorporate some indicators which reflect women's high esteem in some Third World countries, particularly Muslim countries. These include the informal safety net in developing countries, the protection guarantee which ensures that women are not left alone to fend for themselves, the relatively lower rates of crimes against women, the overrepresentation of women in the professions, the relatively lower percentage of women-headed households, etc. Conversely, the PCC index fails to incorporate some indicators which capture the plight of women workers in developed countries such as the gender wage gap and occupational segregation,[9] as well as the tremendous increase in women-headed households due to divorce, abandonment, single motherhood, and a general breakdown in the family system.

On the whole, the use of the PCC index gives country rankings which are heavily influenced by poverty and demographic indicators. One could generalize and safely predict that countries ranking low on the PCC scale would be the poorest of countries and Muslim countries, the latter because of their restrictive attitudes on women's employment outside home and because of the imperfect definition and measurement of social equality.


To remedy these defects while still using the PCC index as the reference point, the paper presents an alternative composite (AC) index based on several indicators in eight sectors: health, schooling, adult education, labor force participation, conditions of employment, domestic life, political representation, and legal rights. To give equal weight to each sector, two indicators are used for each sector--both measuring gender gap[11] within a country in the relevant variable, making a total of sixteen indicators. For each indicator, the performance of individual countries is ranked on a scale of 1 to 100, where 1 represents the worst performance by any country and 100 the best performance. This gives a maximum score of 100 for each indicator and 200 for each sector, and a maximum total score of 1600. The composite index for the country is then calculated by averaging the rankings, giving equal weight to each sector. These scores are divided into seven overall rankings, from Excellent to Extremely Poor. The following is a description of the indicators in different sectors.

1. The Health Sector.

We have used two indicators to compare women's health status to men's within each country: the gender gap in life expectancy at birth (measured as female minus male life expectancy), and the sex ratio (measured as the number of women per 100 men).

Life expectancy for both men and women in the world's richest countries is about 80 years which is almost twice that in the world's poorest countries--45 years. Much of the differential is due to very high infant mortality rates in low-income countries, which is in turn due to the gap in living standards, particularly nutritional status and medical care. In most of the world, women have a longer life expectancy than men, but differentials are narrower in developing than in developed countries, and in some cases reversed from the norm. In the developed countries, women's life expectancy is on average six to seven years longer than men's, but in most developing countries the gap narrows to three years, with the smallest differentials in Nepal, Bangladesh, Pakistan, India, Iran, Afghanistan, Malawi and Tunisia in that order. In Bangladesh and Nepal, men have higher life expectancies than women. A small differential or higher male life expectancy indicates a gender gap in health status (i.e. women's lower status vis-a-vis men), and reflects patterns of discrimination which give preference to male over female infants and children early in life in nutrition, in medical care, in the mother's scarce time, etc.[12]

The sex ratio is a also a measure of women's health status vis-a-vis men: a lower ratio reflecting lower status of women. In most regions, women outnumber men, the ratio of women to men being 106 to 100 in the developed countries, 101 to 100 in Africa, and 100 to 100 in Latin America and the Caribbean.[13] Although more boys are born in the world than girls, females have lower mortality rates than males at all ages. But in some countries, such as Pakistan, Haiti, Bangladesh, etc., there is strong evidence of higher mortality among girls than boys aged 2-5. Higher mortality for girls aged 1-5 has also been reported in northeast Brazil, Burundi, Guatemala, Indonesia, and Togo. In such countries, women have higher death rates than men, also at early childbearing ages and sometimes throughout their childbearing years. The reasons for higher female mortality rates are unequal access to nutrition and health care, adolescent marriages, high fertility, and even cases of widow burning, dowry deaths, female infanticide, and selective abortion on the basis of male preference in some countries. The result is that the ratio of women to men is 95 to 100 in Asia and the Pacific--enough to offset the world balance in favor of men.

2. The Schooling Sector.

We have used gender gap in primary school enrollments (measured as the ratio of female to male enrollment at this level * 100) and the gender gap in secondary school enrollments (measured as the ratio of female to male enrollment at this level * 100) as measures of women's status as far as education in early years is concerned.

It is found that girls' primary and secondary school enrollments have caught up with boys' in most countries in the developed regions and in Latin America and the Caribbean. But they still lag far behind in sub-Saharan Africa and in Southern Asia. Where places in school are limited, girls are at a particular disadvantage. Parents may prefer to educate sons, both because expected benefits are higher due to better job prospects for sons and dependence on sons in old life, and costs are lower because of the low opportunity cost of their time in terms of help in the household.

3. The Adult Education Sector.

The two indicators used to compare adult women's education status to adult men's within each country are the gender gap in adult illiteracy (measured as the percentage of illiterate females in the 25 years and above age group minus the percentage of illiterate males in the same age group), and the gender gap in university and college enrollments (measured as the ratio of female to male enrollment at this level * 100).

Adult literacy rates are largely a reflection of historical trends in primary school enrollment. Although 30 percent of people worldwide are unable to read or write, there are still many more illiterate women than men in most countries. In the developed countries, there is universal literacy in all countries except Greece, Hungary, Italy, Poland, Portugal and Spain, in all of which there is a gender gap of 1-13%. In most of the developing countries, the gender gap is much wider. A higher gender gap is a reflection of women's lower status since literacy is the forerunner to a host of expanded opportunities for women including earning power, control over health and childbearing, political and legal rights, etc.[14]

In university and college enrollments, the numbers of women and men have become nearly equal in the developed regions, western Asia, some countries of Southern Africa, and Latin America and the Caribbean, with women outnumbering men in 21 out of 98 countries for which such data are reported (9 in developed countries, 7 in Latin America and the Caribbean, and 5 in Asia and the Pacific), with Puerto Rico and Qatar having more than 150 women enrolled in colleges and universities for every 100 men. By contrast, the sub-Saharan African and southern Asian countries enroll fewer than 30 women per 100 men in higher education. Furthermore, women represent about 50% of those enrolled in advanced training for law and business in the developed regions and Latin America and the Caribbean, 38% in Asia and the Pacific, and 26% in Africa. A higher ratio of female to male enrollment indicates a higher status for women relative to men because of the greater competitive edge it provides.

4. The Labor Force Participation Sector.

The two indicators of women's labor force status used in this study are the gender gap in the economic activity rate (measured as the percentage of adult (15 years and over) women who are economically active minus the percentage of adult men who are economically active) and women's share of the labor force (measured as the percentage of the economically active population that is female). Higher values of both these indicators reflect higher status of women since work is associated with earning power, mobility, etc.

Regarding employment, the highest rates of economic activity for women are in Africa -- 79% in Mozambique and Rwanda, 78% in Burundi, and 77% in Burkina Faso and Tanzania. The other countries in sub-Saharan Africa, the developed regions, and south-eastern Asia show high average rates ranging from 45-50%. Northern Africa has the lowest rate of any region(16%) followed by western and southern Asia (21 and 24%) and Latin America and the Caribbean (32%). The gender gap in activity rate is greatest in Muslim countries such as Bangladesh, Afghanistan, Qatar, and Saudi Arabia in that order, and lowest in the former socialist countries such as Bulgaria, Romania or African countries such as Mozambique, Rwanda, Tanzania, etc. However, in most official labor force statistics, the gender gap in the economic activity rate is overestimated and women's economic participation underestimated, especially in poor rural countries where a large proportion of the population is engaged in subsistence agriculture, or home-based production in the informal sector. Micro-level studies show that in South Asia, for example, 72% of adult women participate in agricultural work and they account for 21% of the labor force, working longer hours than men (about 12-15 hours). They produce over half of the region's food, and as much as three-fourths in Africa. But the official statistics gives activity rates of 7% for Bangladesh, 13% for Pakistan, and 29% for India, all of which are gross underestimates. The reasons for underestimation are several: the physical invisibility of women outside the home, especially in Muslim countries, the middle class ideal of a non-working wife, the perception of work only as paid labor, and male bias in data collection machinery. Not surprisingly, the gaps between women's recorded participation and men's remain wide. They are widest in Muslim countries of northern Africa (16% for women versus 80% for men), of western and southern Asia (21-24% for women compared to 83-85% for men), followed by Latin America and the Caribbean (32% for women compared with 80% for men). Nonetheless, we have used these in constructing our index partly because of non-availability of other data and partly because this underreporting in itself is a result of the low status given to women and their issues.

Women's share of the labor force is highest in eastern Europe and some African countries, followed by other developed regions, sub-Saharan Africa and south-eastern Asia. Northern Africa has the lowest ratio followed by Latin America and the Caribbean, and western and southern Asia in that order. The ratio varies from a low of 6% in United Arab Emirates to 48% in Burundi, Mozambique, Tanzania, and USSR.

5. The Employment Conditions Sector.

There are two characteristics of the labor market that lie at the root of women's economic disadvantage: wage gap whereby women are paid less than men in all industries and occupations for work that is recognizably equal, and occupational segregation whereby women are segregated into certain `female' occupations which are generally low-paying. Almost everywhere women are paid less than men and almost everywhere the work place is segregated by sex. It is difficult to measure the wage gap because of non-availability of data for most developing countries. In Cyprus, Japan, and the Republic of Korea, women's wages are the lowest in relation to men's (50%) among those countries for which data are available. Only a few countries report women's wages as high as 75-90% of men's -- such as Iceland, France, Australia, Denmark, New Zealand, and Netherlands among the developed regions, Tanzania and Kenya in Africa, and Jordan and Sri Lanka in Asia. One of the reasons for women's lower wages is that they are concentrated in low-paying jobs, the female `ghettos', in every economy. Very few women in most of the countries are engaged in relatively well-paying professional, technical, managerial, or administrative jobs--3% or less in about half the countries (but 42% in Sweden). Accordingly, we have used data on occupational segregation which is more widely available as an indicator for employment conditions. The two indicators are high-paying job ratio (measured as the number of women per 100 men in the high paying occupational category of administrative and managerial workers), and low-paying job ratio (measured as the number of women per 100 men in the low paying occupational category of clerical, sales, and service workers).

The low paying job ratio varies from a maximum of 542 women per 100 men in these jobs (sales, clerical, and service) in Haiti, to a minimum of 7 in Syria. On the whole, women fill over half of the clerical and service jobs -- which are the least paying jobs-in the developed regions, Latin America and the Caribbean, and more than a third in Asia and the Pacific. In fact, the extent of occupational segregation is striking in developed countries. A study of 24 countries in the developed regions in the 1970's showed that in jobs such as those of nurses, typists, and housekeepers (clerical and service), more than 90% of the employees were women. Much more recent data for Sweden still show the same pattern. Most of the women in the developed countries are economically active, are in the paid labor force, but are paid very poorly relative to men, and so none of the variables focusing on activity rates or paid labor force reflect their low status on this count. The advantage of using this index is that it would capture the plight of women workers in the developed countries since the `low-paying job ratio' would be higher in these countries meaning a lower status of women.

The high paying job ratio varies from 191 women per 100 men in managerial and administrative jobs in Sweden (and 196 in Trinidad and Tobago), to less than 5 in Bahrain, Bangladesh, India, Korea, Kuwait, Turkey, and a minimum of 1 in United Arab Emirates. Again, the advantage of using this index is that it reflects the advantage of women in countries where they are well represented in higher echelons of management, such as Sweden, as well as their disadvantage in countries (developed or developing) where they are not since the `high-paying job ratio' (and therefore the index of their status) would be higher in the former and lower in the latter.

6. The Domestic Life Sector.

We initially used two indicators to compare women's household characteristics to men's within each country: the ratio of women-headed households ( measured as a percentage of total households), and the ratio of divorced women (measured as percentage of 25-44 year old women who are currently divorced). Both these indicators reflect the economic burden on women since they have to fend for themselves, and possibly their children. A high ratio of these two variables is thus associated with a low status of women. The reason for including the divorce variable in addition to women-headed households was that, in many countries, women are not recognized as heads of households either by themselves or the enumerators even when they bear the economic responsibility for the household--leading to underenumeration of such households. This distortion in data may be corrected by complementing it with the data on divorce. On the other hand, however, divorce rights also represent the freedom to choose for women, and in many countries, women do not have that freedom which lowers their status. Therefore, the divorce variable was dropped from subsequent analysis.

Women-headed households are a growing worldwide phenomenon, although the primary reason varies from widowhood and abandonment in Asia and Africa to single motherhood and divorce in developed countries. Such households make up over 20% of all households in Africa, the developed regions, and Latin America and the Caribbean, and 14% in Asia. There are marked inter-regional variations too: women head 45% of households in Botswana, 38% in Norway, 31% in the U.S., 17% in Bangladesh, and 4% in Pakistan. The women-headed households are generally poorer than those headed by men because such households often have one working-age provider, and they generally have to support children or other dependents.

7. Public Life and Leadership.

The two indicators used to compare women's relative to men's representation in government within each country are the political participation of women (measured as the percentage of parliamentary seats occupied by women), and women decision makers in government (measured as percentage of decision making positions held by women in all ministries including executive offices, economic, political and legal affairs, social affairs, and ministerial level).

In most countries, women still play a very minor role in high-level political and economic decision-making. They rarely achieve elective office, and are severely underrepresented at top positions in political parties. Of the 159 member States of the United Nations, only six (3.8%) were headed by women at the end of 1990: Iceland, Ireland, Nicaragua, Norway, Dominica, and the Philippines. Two more can be added after that period: Pakistan and Bangladesh. The percentage of parliamentary seats occupied by women is a good indicator of women in public life. The strength of parliamentary representation by women varies by political system and historical period. It varies from 34.5 in U.S.S.R. to 0.7 in Sudan. Women do not occupy any seat in the parliaments of Comoros, Morocco, Uruguay, Jordan, Papua New Guinea, United Arab Emirates, or Yemen. However, it needs to be added that recent political restructuring in U.S.S.R. (as well as in eastern Europe) has weakened women's role. The highest consistent parliamentary representation by women has been in the Nordic countries.

Women are also poorly represented in the top echelons of government. Only 3.5% of the world's cabinet ministers are women, and women hold no ministerial positions in 93 countries of the world. Most women in high government positions are in such ministries as education, culture, social welfare, women's affairs -- `social' fields. They occupy 12-14% of such positions in developed regions excluding Eastern Europe and the U.S.S.R., 9% in sub-Saharan Africa, and 6% in the rest of the world. The highest percentage of women decision makers in government are in Norway-20.3% -- whereas 31 countries do not have any woman in a high decision-making position in government.

8. The Legal Protection Sector.

Over the last several decades, most countries have adopted laws or constitutional provisions to promote political and economic equality between men and women. They have included, for example, equal pay and fair employment protections, and expanded political rights. The two indicators of the governments commitment to equal political and economic rights are the gender gap in the right to vote (measured as the difference in years between men and women getting the right to vote)[15], and commitment to legal protection against sex discrimination (indicated by the country's signing/ratifying the CEDAW (Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Discrimination Against Women). Most of the countries have ratified or acceded to the Convention. There are other countries which have neither signed nor acceded to the Convention, and yet others which have signed but not ratified the Convention, the latter group including Netherlands, Switzerland, and the U.S. in the developed regions. Accordingly, government commitment and political will to genuinely improve the status of women may be stronger in countries that are signatories.[16]

By incorporating 16 indicators in 8 sectors, the new AC index, on the whole, captures both the positive and negative aspects of women's status in different regions of the world. On the one hand, it reflects the advantage of women in health/education/labor force participation in all the developed countries, in political representation in Nordic and eastern European countries, in labor force participation in Africa, in the informal safety net of domestic life in most developing countries, and so on. On the other hand, the AC index also captures the plight of women in different regions--occupational segregation and breakup of family structures in the developed countries, the social hardship in developing countries, and so on.

The data used for the study are based on the UN Report `The World's Women: Trends and Statistics; 1970-1990'. The paper uses data on sixteen indicators for 112 countries: 31 in the developed regions, 28 in Africa, 22 in Latin America and the Caribbean, and 31 in Asia and the Pacific. The data on all indicators is for 1990 except for school enrollments and public life and leadership which are for 1987. Many problems were encountered in using the data for country rankings of the status of women. Several countries (66) had to be excluded because of the absence of data for a significant number of indicators. Conversely, some indicators such as those measuring violence against women, time use of women and men in market and non-market work, labor force participation by type of economic activity, etc., were excluded because they were not reported for all countries. The quantity and quality of data also varied widely among the eight sectors covered. Sex-specific data on health, schooling, adult education, public life and leadership, legal protection, and labor force were relatively complete, current, and available for almost all countries, although labor force data is not reliable for most developing countries, as argued earlier. But data on employment conditions and domestic life were lacking for a large number of countries.

Rather than lose many countries or variables, we made the following adjustments. First, several countries (7) which had data for both indicators in all the sectors but no data on either of the two indicators in the education or household status or public life and leadership sector were included in the analysis because of their importance in the study. These include U.S.S.R., South Africa, and Myanmar (no data on education); Puerto Rico and Hong Kong (no data on public life and leadership); and Saudi Arabia, Viet Nam, and Yemen (no data on domestic life). Their composite index would be the average for less than eight sectors. Second, there were some countries which had data for one of the two indicators in a sector. Their specific sectoral index would be the average of not two but one indicator. In fact, that was the advantage of including two indicators in each sector to begin with. Third, there were a large number of countries which did not have data for any of the indicators on employment conditions: they have not been excluded from the analysis but their composite index is based on seven and not eight sectors. Finally, we ignored the data on the sex ratio (women per 100 men) for 4 oil-producing countries (Bahrain, Qatar, Saudi Arabia, and United Arab Emirates) since they have unusually large male immigrant populations.[17]

A total of thirteen indicators[18] in eight sectors are used to form a simple composite index.[19] For each indicator, the performance of individual countries is rated on a scale of 1 to 100, where 1 represents the worst performance by any country and 100 the best performance. Thus, for gender gap in life expectancy, the upper limit of 100 is assigned to 9.2 years (achieved by U.S.S.R.) and the lower limit of 1 is assigned to (-) 1.2 years (found in Nepal). Within these limits, each country's gender gap in life expectancy figure is ranked from 1 to 100. For example, a gender gap of 7.8, one-quarter between the upper and the lower limits of 100 and 1 would be assigned a rating of 75. A similar procedure has been followed for all indicators where higher numbers represent better performance/higher status. For indicators where higher numbers represent lower status such as the domestic life indicator, i.e., percentage of women-headed households, the upper limit of 100 is assigned to the country with the lowest number of women-headed households and the lower limit of 1 is assigned to the country with the highest number of women-headed households. Then each country's performance in each of the eight sectors is calculated by averaging its ranking for the two indicators within each sector. For cases where a country has only one ranking, the ranking for one indicator coincides with ranking for that sector. Once a country's performance in eight sectors is ranked on the scale of 1 to 100, the composite index for the country is calculated by averaging the eight rankings, giving equal weight to each.[20]

Although there are some problems in assigning equal weights to each indicator and each sector, and while this approach is open to criticism, the alternatives are also open to criticism. The first alternative could be to use a regression equation where the indicators constitute the independent variables and something like GNP or the HDI (human development index) is the dependent variable. The weights can then be derived based on the relative importance of the indicators in the regression equation. The problem with this method is that the choice of the dependent variable is not obvious, and we would not be able to see how the index relates to GNP or HDI because we used these to calculate the weights. The second alternative is to assign weights subjectively based on the opinion of a panel of experts. This methodology, reviewed by Milton Friedman, Douglas North, etc., is being followed in constructing a freedom index.[21]

Table II gives the overall ranking of the status of women for 112 countries studied. Consistent with the PCC index, we have used the same 7 rankings: Excellent (scores of 90-100), Very Good (scores of 80-89.5), Good (scores of 70-79.5), Fair (scores of 60-69.5), Poor (scores of 50-59.5), Very Poor (scores of 40-49.5), and Extremely Poor (scores of 39.5 or less). Table II shows that, according to our index, the AC index, no country has a ranking of Excellent, only one country (USSR) has the ranking of Very Good, and only 6 countries have a ranking of Good (Romania, Finland, Czechoslovakia, Sweden, East Germany, and Hungary). A total of 18 countries had total scores of 60-70, giving them a rank of Fair (including Canada, Norway, western European countries such as Germany, France, and Italy, eastern European countries such as Poland, Bulgaria, Portugal as well as developing countries like Philippines and Vietnam in Asia, Puerto Rico, Barbados, and Jamaica in Latin America, Tanzania in Africa); whereas the largest number of countries (40) fell into the category of Poor (including developed countries like Austria, Belgium, U.K., U.S., Australia, Greece, Japan, and Spain; and developing countries like Costa Rica, Brazil, Cuba, Mexico, and Argentina in Latin America; Rwanda and Senegal in Africa; and China, Israel, Indonesia and Hong Kong in Asia). The Very Poor category is assigned to 27 developing countries (such as Honduras and Guatemala in Latin America; several countries in Africa including South Africa; Singapore, Myanmar, and Kuwait in Asia). The remaining 20 countries are ranked Extremely Poor (including almost all countries of South Asia (India, Pakistan, Bangladesh, Nepal), a few of North Africa (such as Sudan and Egypt) and Middle East, and only 2 each of sub-Saharan Africa and Latin America. The USSR scored highest (85) and Yemen scored lowest (16.5). The countries with the 10 worst scores are Yemen, Afghanistan, Nepal, Pakistan, Saudi Arabia, Mauritania, Iran, Sudan, Bangladesh, and Jordan; and with the 10 best scores are USSR, Romania, Finland, Czechoslovakia, Sweden, East Germany, Hungary, Poland, Norway, and Trinidad and Tobago.


The rankings of countries and regions under our AC index differs from that of the PCC index. Consistent with our hypothesis earlier that women have a significantly lower status than men in all societies and that gender discrimination is universal, the AC index shows that no country has a ranking of Excellent. Even the countries which score the top and the lowest ten scores are not the same by the two indices: the only common countries among the top ten being Sweden, Finland, East Germany, and Norway; and among the bottom 10 North Yemen, Saudi Arabia, Afghanistan. Pakistan, Sudan, and Bangladesh, although the specific rank of these countries and the category differs between the two indices. Moreover, the AC index is more highly correlated with the PCC index for developing than for developed countries. Thus most of the developing countries fall into the three bottom categories of Extremely Poor, Very Poor, and Poor both by the AC index and the PCC index. But, in the AC index, 11 developed countries (Switzerland, Netherlands, Japan, United States, Australia, United Kingdom, New Zealand, Greece, Belgium, Austria, and Yugoslavia) also are ranked Poor compared to none in the PCC index.

Generally speaking, the ranking of north American, western European, and to a certain extent even the Nordic countries is lower in the AC index than in the PCC index. This is because the AC index is more comprehensive for developed countries than the PCC index. We have considered three additional indicators of status than the PCC index: the employment conditions indicators reflected in the percentage of women in clerical jobs and managerial jobs, the domestic life indicator reflected in the percentage of women headed households and the legal rights indicator, all of which reflect important aspects of women's status in general, and in developed countries in particular. Thus, the AC index lowers the rank of those countries where women are overrepresented in clerical, sales, and service jobs, and underrepresented in administrative or managerial jobs, and where the percentage of women who have economic responsibility for their households is higher. Both of these conditions are found in most developed countries, the former due to occupational segregation and the latter due to a breakdown of the traditional family structures. In fact, if we exclude either the household or the employment indicators mentioned above from the AC index, the current ranking of the U.S., for example, is pulled up from Poor to Fair. The rank of the Nordic countries is not altered as much as that of the western European and North American countries on account of inclusion/exclusion of these variables because women in these countries are very well represented in administrative and managerial jobs and in the political arena. For example, Sweden ranks second in the world in the percentage of women among administrators and managers, and seventh in the percentage of seats in parliament occupied by women.

On the whole, the USSR and the eastern European countries (the former socialist countries) rank higher on the AC than the PCC scale. There are two reasons for this: very high female labor force participation rates in these countries and women's representation in parliament increases rankings whereas the plight of women workers in these countries in terms of long working hours at work and home without help from husbands or modern appliances which would have decreased rankings is not captured because of non-availability of such data for most countries. Thus the USSR has the highest rank, topping the world in terms of percentage of parliamentary seats occupied by women, their advantage over men in life expectancy, and their proportion in the labor force. [22]

Table II: Status of Women Index

COUNTRIES                 INDEX     COUNTRIES          INDEX     COUNTRIES                INDEX

      Extremely Poor                45  Bolivia        48.89         Fair                        
   1  Yemen               16.50     46  Sri Lanka      49.25     88  Canada               59.69  
   2  Afganistan          16.63     47  Ghana          49.50     89  Philippines          59.75  
   3  Nepal               19.90                                  90  Italy                60.15  
   4  Pakistan            20.73         Poor                     91  Viet Nam             61.00  
   5  Saudi Arabia        23.25     48  Mauritius      50.00     92  France               61.54  
   6  Mauritania          27.38     49  Haiti          50.30     93  FRG-Fed Rep Germany  61.58   
   7  Iran                27.82     50  Indonesia      50.50     94  Burkina Faso         61.70  
   8  Sudan               28.55     51  Hong Kong      50.82     95  Bulgaria             61.83  
   9  Bangladesh          30.23     52  Mexico         50.83     96  Portugal             62.62  
  10  Jordan              30.80     53  El Salvador    50.85     97  Barbados             63.46  
  11  Papua New Guinea    31.33     54  Congo          50.91     98  Puerto Rico          63.56  
  12  India               32.82     55  Panama         51.08     99  Iceland              64.80  
  13  Morocco             33.00     56  China          51.50    100  United Rep. Tanzania 64.89  
  14  United Arab Em.     33.55     57  Senegal        51.60    101  Jamaica              64.92  
  15  Egypt               35.00     58  Spain          51.62    102  Denmark              65.58  
  16  Iraq                37.40     59  Cyprus         51.92    103  Trinidad and Tobago  65.92  
  17  Syrian Arab Rep.    37.54     60  Switzerland    51.92    104  Norway               67.08  
  18  Mali                38.09     61  Isreal         52.00    105  Poland               68.91  
  19  Qatar               38.75     62  Ireland        52.08                                     
  20  Ecuador             38.91     63  Costa Rica     52.50         Good                        
                                    64  Venezuela      52.75    106  Hungary              69.91  
      Very Poor                     65  Luxemburg      53.23    107  GDR-German Dem Rep   72.00  
  21  Central African Rep 39.67     66  Japan          53.31    108  Sweden               72.08  
  22  Fiji                39.73     67  Rwanda         53.45    109  Czechoslovakia       73.36  
  23  Cote d'Ivoire       40.33     68  Cameroon       53.58    110  Finland              74.42  
  24  Comoros             40.36     69  Netherlands    53.83    111  Romania              74.90  
  25  Bahrain             40.60     70  Madagascar     54.60                                     
  26  Zambia              42.15     71  Brazil         54.90         Very Good                   
  27  Malaysia            42.42     72  Greece         54.92    112  USSR                 85.00  
  28  Myanmar             42.71     73  Guyana         55.00                                     
  29  Liberia             43.82     74  Australia      55.23                                     
  30  Mozambique          43.90     75  Chile          55.75                                     
  31  Paraguay            43.90     76  New Zealand    56.31                                     
  32  Zimbabwe            44.00     77  Argentina      56.55                                     
  33  South Africa        44.33     78  Burundi        56.60                                     
  34  Kuwait              45.18     79  Belgium        56.92                                     
  35  Peru                45.31     80  Cape Verde     57.00                                     
  36  Singapore           45.62     81  United Kingdom 57.00                                     
  37  Guatemala           46.18     82  Uruguay        57.46                                     
  38  Korea, Rep          46.25     83  United States  57.77                                     
  39  Botswana            46.77     84  Yugoslavia     58.25                                     
  40  Turkey              46.77     85  Cuba           58.27                                     
  41  Tunisia             47.08     86  Austria        58.54                                     
  42  Honduras            47.09     87  Thailand       58.55                                     
  43  Malawi              47.20                                                                  
  44  Ethiopia            48.25                                                                  

Similarly, the sub-Saharan African countries rank higher on the AC than the PCC scale, often moving from Very Poor to Poor, partly because our index better reflects economic activity and these countries have very high female labor force participation rates and women's share of the labor force is high too. So, if a country in this region does very well on any other indicator, its rank is significantly increased. Thus Tanzania is third in the world in female economic activity rates, first in women's share of the labor force, and sixth in representation of women in senior government positions. Accordingly, it ranks in the Extremely Poor category in the PCC scale which does not capture most of these aspects of women's status, but Fair in the AC scale which does. Similarly, Burkina Faso is 3rd in the world in female economic activity rates, 2nd from the bottom in percentage of female-headed households--all of which give it a higher ranking of Fair on the AC scale. However the plight of women workers in both the sub-Saharan African countries and the former socialist countries (USSR and Easttern Europe) in terms of long working hours at work and home without help from husbands or modern appliances, which would have decreased rankings, is not captured even by the AC index because of non-availability of such data for most countries.

Similarly, our rankings for north Africa, the Middle East, and Muslim countries of Asia on the one hand, and Latin American countries on the other, are higher than the PCC index because of our inclusion of the domestic life and the employment conditions sector. In the former group of countries, the AC ranking is higher because the percentage of female-headed households is very low in these countries due to the informal safety net, and women are underrepresented in the low-paying clerical/sales/service jobs since sex seclusion cannot be ensured in those jobs. For Latin American countries, the AC ranking is higher because the percentage of female-headed households is lower here due to low divorce rates typical of Catholic countries in the region. In the case of north Africa, the Middle East, and Muslim countries of Asia, the negative (positive) impact of the seclusion ethics resulting in women being underrepresented in the high-paying administrative and managerial jobs (low-paying sales/clerical/service jobs) is captured by our index, but the positive impact of the seclusion ethics resulting in these cultures in women being overrepresented in professions is not captured by our index because of the non-availability of such data for all the countries being considered.[23] In the case of several countries, however, none of these effects have been captured because the common data source (the UN) shows that such data are not available, although country sources show that it is. Pakistan is a case in point. Thus if we complement the current UN data on Pakistan with data on women's representation in different occupations (such as administrative, clerical, professions, etc.) from Pakistani sources, the ranking would significantly improve.[24]

The greatest difference between our rankings and the PCC rankings is for countries like the U.S. which rank Poor in our index compared to Very Good in the PCC index. As mentioned earlier, this is because our index includes the percentage of woman-headed households as a measure of the extent of economic burden on women. The U.S. has the fifth highest percentage of woman-headed households (and the second highest of divorced women) in the world. This together with poor performance (below its average score of 57.8) in women's secondary and university enrollments, and their underrepresentation in seats in parliament (13th lowest rank) explains its overall low rank. None of these variables except school enrollments were included in the PCC index, and hence the high rating of the U.S. on the PCC scale.[25] Similarly, the rank of some countries changes in our index compared to the PCC index, even though the total score or the category may not change much. Thus Trinidad and Tobago score 68 on the PCC scale and 65.9 on ours and are ranked in the category Fair, but the specific rank is 27th in PCC and 10th in our index--because very few countries score more than 65.9 in our index.

The paper gives preliminary results about women's status across countries. It would be useful to compare the GDP rank of countries with their women's status rank. The analysis in this paper and its results are based on one consolidated data set for all countries published by the United Nations. It would be useful to complement this study with data on differentials in time use by gender in order to capture the situation of women workers in eastern European countries and in sub-Saharan Africa, on representation of women in the professions to reflect the position of women in north Africa, the Middle East, and south and southeast Asia, on domestic violence, etc. Data are available for many developed and some developing countries on all these variables. Perhaps a more exhaustive analysis of the status of women in those countries can be made as a next step. Moreover, a sensitivity analysis can also be done to look at the effect of including/excluding certain indicators or sectors, or of assigning different weights to different indicators, on the relative rankings of different countries and regions.


Boserup, Ester (1970), Women's Role in Economic Development, New York: St. Martin's Press, 1970.

Boserup, Ester (1990), Economic and Demographic Relationships in Development, Baltimore, MD: John Hopkins University Press, 1990.

Gwartney, James, W. Block and R. Lawson (1992), `Measuring Economic Freedom' in S.T. Easton and M.A. Walker (eds.), Rating Global Economic Freedom, Vancouver, Canada: The Fraser Institute, 1992.

Mohiuddin, Yasmeen (1990), `Women in the Urban Labor Markets,' Pakistan Economist, April, 1980.

Morris, D.M. and McAlpin (1982), Measuring the Condition of India's Poor: The Physical Quality of Life Index, New Delhi, India: Promilla and Co. Publishers, 1982.

Palley, M.L. (1990), `Women's Status in South Korea,' Asian Survey, Vol. XXX, No. 12, December 1990.

Population Crisis Committee (1988), Population Briefing Paper No. 20, Washington, D.C., 1988. United States Department of Labor, Women's Bureau (1994), 1993 Handbook on Women Workers: Trends and Issues, Washington, D.C., 1994.

The United Nations (1991), The World's Women 1970-1990: Trends and Statistics. Social Statistics and Indicators, Series K, No. 8, New York: The United Nations, 1991.

United Nations Development Programme (1995), Human Development Report 1995, New York: Oxford University Press, 1995.

Youssef, Nadia (1974), Women and Work in Developing Societies, Berkeley: University of California Press, 1974.

Appendix I
Geographical groupings of countries and areas

Developed regions1

Federal Republic of
Germany former
German Democratic Republic
New Zealand
United Kingdom of Britain & Northern Ireland
United States of America
Union of Soviet Socialist Republics


Northern Africa
Libyan Arab Jamahiriya
Western Sahara

Sub-Saharan Africa
Burkina Faso
Cape Verde
Central African Republic
Côte d'Ivoire
Equatorial Guinea
Sao Tome & Principe
Sierra Leone
South Africa
United Republic of Tanzania

Latin America and Carribean
Antigua & Barbuda
Costa Rica
Dominican Republic
El Salvador
French Guiana
Netherlands Antilles
Puerto Rico
St. Kitts & Nevis
St. Lucia
St. Vincent-Grenadines
Trinidad and Tobago
United States Virgin Islands

Asia and Pacific

Eastern Asia
Hong Kong
Korea, Democratic
People's Republic of
Korea, Republic of

South-eastern Asia
Brunei Darussalam
East Timor
Lao, People's Democratic Republic
Viet Nam

Southern Asia
Iran (Islamic Republic of) Maldives
Sri Lanka

Western Asia
Saudi Arabia
Syrian Arab Republic
United Arab Emirates

French Polynesia
New Caledonia
Pacific Islands
Papua New Guinea
Solomon Islands


1. Comprising Europe and the USSR, northern America, Australia, Japan and New Zealand. Where used in the present publication, "eastern Europe" refers to Albania, Bulgaria, Czechoslovakia, Germany: former German Democratic Republic (see note 2 below), Hungary, Poland and Romania.

2. Through the accession of the German Democratic Republic to the Federal Republic of Germany with effect from 3 October 1990, the two German States have united to form one sovereign State. As from the date of unification, the Federal Republic of Germany acts in the United Nations under the designation "Germany." All data shown for Germany in the present publication pertain to end-June 1990 or earlier and are indicated separately for the Federal Republic of Germany and the former German Democratic Republic.

Source: The World's Women 1970-1990: Trends and Statistics. Social Statistics and Indicators, Series K, No. 8 New York.

Appendix II Rank by Indicator and by Region
                                  H1  H2   S1   S2    S3   Lf1  Lf2  --Em  --Em  --H  91Hh   39Po 1Pol  Leg1  
                                                                       1    2     h1    2     l1   2           
     DEVELOPED REGIONS                                                                                        
  1  Australia                    75  41   85   53    42    71   76    22  76     49    56    19  9      100  
  2  Austria                      81  85   84   52    36    73   81     8  65     35    53    34  27     100  
  3  Belgium                      75  65   86   51    41    63   67     9  82     59    70    23  19     100  
  4  Bulgaria                     68  51   84   51    59   100   95    22  36     --    74    61  15     100  
  5  Canada                       79  51   82   50    54    74   81    28  68     49    61    29  31     100  
  6  Czechoslovakia               84  65   87   100   33    96   98     Ñ  Ñ      54    44    86  4      100  
  7  Denmark                      67  55   86   50    45    90   93     9  67     --    24    85  40     100  
  8  Finland                      87  70   85   61    46    97   98    13  49     --    41    91  96     100  
  9  France                       90  65   84   55    45    78   81     6  71     57    45    19  49     100  
 10   Germany                     75  80   86   53    32    67   74    11  75     --    53    45  41     100  
 11  East Germany                 68  85   84   48    54    86   93    --  --     --    21    93  9      100  
 12  Greece                       54  55   84   48    44    47   51    10  88     71    87    13  49     100  
 13  Hungary                      84  75   85   50    55    89   93    --  --     61    31    61  16     100  
 14  Iceland                      66  36   85   46    54    84   88    --  --     --    62    60  29     100  
 15  Ireland                      64  36   85   57    34    51   55    11  82     --    83    25  25     100  
 16  Italy                        76  70   85   48    41    60   62    31  93     61    97    38  17     100  
 17  Japan                        67  55   85   51    24    68   76     5  83     73    75     5  1      100  
 18  Luxemburg                    76  65   84   49    22    58   62     4  76     54    72    41  1      100  
 19  Netherlands                  76  51   87   48    31    58   60     8  78     --    48    58  41      50  
 20  New Zealand                  70  51   85   52    41    63   69    12  68     52    54    42  27     100  
 21  Norway                       76  51   86   53    54    80   84    15  55     18    48   100  100    100  
 22  Poland                       89  65   85   55    61    91   95    --  --     44    71    59  14     100  
 23  Portugal                     77  75   80   64    54    58   74    10  81     66    93    23  52     100  
 24  Romania                      65  55   85   44    37    99   95    --  --     --    69   100  69     100  
 25  Spain                        70  55   82   54    45    43   43     4  84     71    90    19  1      100  
 26  Sweden                       69  55   87   58    41    93   93    97  74     44    26    83  43     100  
 27  Switzerland                  75  65   87   56    19    64   74     4  76     49    49    41  15      50  
 28  USSR                        100  95   --   --    --    94  100     Ñ  --     --    34   100  6      100  
 29  United Kingdom               67  65   85   53    37    71   79    16  60     49    36    19  40     100  
 30  United States                80  65   84   51    52    77   84    32  67     35    17    16  58      50  
 31  Yugoslavia                   69  51   82   46    41    74   79     9  76     --    73    55  17     100  
 32  Botswana                     70  85   100  59    32    54   72    29  65      1    71    16  25       0  
 33  Burkina Faso                 44  51   42   20    10    93   95    --  --     98    96    --  64     100  
 34  Burundi                      44  60   61   24    11    94  100    --  --     --    56    27  45     100  
 35  Cameroon                     51  55   72   27    --    50   65     4  96     76    73    42  55      50  
 36  Cape Verde                   46  100  87   42    --    34   60    --  --     --    81    43  1      100  
 37  Cen. African Rep.            43  70   46   14     1    87   95    --  --     --    36    --  1        0  
 38  Comoros                      46  51   65   30    --    70   81     1  98     --    21     1  1        0  
 39  Congo                        44  55   84   38     3    68   79    --  --     59    44    29  1      100  
 40  Cote d'Ivoire                45  26   55   15    --    58   67    --  --     --    68    17  30      50  
 41  Egypt                        38  26   62   30    21    14   10     9  97     --    89    12  1      100  
 42  Ethiopia                     43  51   48   --     6    63   74    --  --     --    44    --  1      100  
 43  Ghana                        47  46   65   26     6    74   81     6  47     44    --    --  52     100  
 44  Liberia                      41  31   45   12    15    43   58    --  --     73    --    19  45     100  
 45  Madagascar                   41  51   82   --    27    67   79    --  --     73   100     5  21     100  
 46  Malawi                       26  55   63   17    16    70   84    --  --     40    39    --  1      100  
 47  Mali  ,                      43  70   42   13     3    10   25    --  --     73    86    12  28     100  
 48  Mauritania                   43  51   47   13    --    25   39    --  --     --     1    --  1        0  
 49  Mauritius                    63  51   88   46    21    37   51    10  91     64    95    17  11     100  
 50  Morocco                      45  41   46   30    21    27   34    18  96     69    66     1  1        0  
 51  Mozambique                   43  55   65   19    10    99  100    --  --     --    48    47  1        0  
 52  Rwanda                       44  51   87   21     3    96   98    --  --     49    77    38  1      100  
 53  Senegal                      43  51   53   19     8    68   79    --  --     --    79    35  60     100  
 54  South Africa                 70  46   --   --    --    66   72    12  71     --    73    11  1       50  
 55  Sudan                        35  36   53   35    30    25   39    --  --     57    --     3  1        0  
 56  Tunisia                      27  31   67   33    25    41   46    15  97     86    91    17  27     100  
 57  Tanzania                     45  51   91   28     3    99  100    --  --     --    57    --  67     100  
 58  Zambia                       32  55   78   22     6    38   53     7  93     42    37     9  13     100  
 59  Zimbabwe                     47  51   87   --    21    53   67    10  91     --    58    27  30       0  
     LAT. AMERICA & CARIBBEAN                                                                                
 60  Argentina                    76  51   87   61    54    48   53    --  --     64    75    14  14     100  
 61  Barbados                     70  85   84   54    45    91   98    24  71      3    86    12  88     100  
 62  Bolivia                      55  55   76   44    --    35   46    --  --     --    81    12  17     100  
 63  Brazil                       63  46   85   --    47    43   53    --  --     76   100    16  20     100  
 64  Chile                        79  51   85   57    34    50   53    12  80     57   100    --  11     100  
 65  Costa Rica                   56  31   84   56    --    30   39    16  84     66    84    31  37     100  
 66  Cuba                         47  26   78   55    59    61   62    --  --     42    29    98  13     100  
 67  Ecuador                      52  36   --   52    28    25   32    10  87     --    91     5  1      100  
 68  El Salvador                  93  60   89   61    32    34   46    11  67     57    --    10  1      100  
 69  Guatemala                    57  31   69   42    --    18   25    11  84     --    69    21  50     100  
 70  Guyana                       60  36   86   --    43    35   46     9  87     52    80    --  51     100  
 71  Haiti                        44  60   74   --    19    77   84    26  1      --    99    --  18     100  
 72  Honduras                     52  31   89   64    27    23   34    --  --     57    --    16  25     100  
 73  Jamaica                      64  46   87   57    64    94   95    --  68     28    94    35  41     100  
 74  Mexico                       75  41   85   50    29    41   51    10  88     --    93    32  8      100  
 75  Panama                       51  26   81   59    66    45   51    16  75     57    89    18  19     100  
 76  Paraguay                     53  26   81   --    --    23   36    30  83     --   100     6  1      100  
 77  Peru                         50  36   82   42    22    38   43     6  90     54    96    17  9      100  
 78  Puerto Rico                  78  65   --   --    74    54   55    18  79     49    31    --  --     100  
 79  Trinidad & Tobago            61  46   89   54    47    48   58   100  82     49    86    49  74     100  
 80  Uruguay                      75  55   85   61    62    54   60    18  81     59    79     1  36     100  
 81  Venezuela                    70  31   86   66    --    44   53    10  85     57    82    12  19     100  
     ASIA AND PACIFIC                                                                                    
 82  Afganistan                   22  11   34   --     3     4    8    --  --     --    99    --  1       50  
 83  Bahrain                      53  --   88   48    71    15   13     3  98     --    80    --  17       0  
 84  Bangladesh                    6  11   51   12     7     1    3     2  96     69    92    27  8      100  
 85  China                        40  11   69   32    17    91   88     7  88     --    98    62  13     100  
 86  Cyprus                       59  46   82   53    41    61   69     5  86     --    90     6  15     100  
 87  Fiji                         55  36   85   53    22    24   34     6  88     --    77    --  34       0  
 88  Hong Kong                    67  11   80   53    22    64   65     8  87     52    91    --  --      50  
 89  India                        13  6    49   --    13    37   46     2  99     --    94    25  21      50  
 90  Indonesia                    39  46   82   36    20    50   60     5  85     76    67    --  7      100  
 91  Iran                         17  26   65   30    15    25   29    --  --     93    94     5  1        0  
 92  Iraq                         30  21   68   24    20    35   36    --  --     --    91    39  1      100  
 93  Isreal                       47  41   87   57    39    61   67     9  78     66    69    25  49      50  
 94  Jordan                       47  16   80   48    37    18   10    --  --     --    92     1  1       50  
 95  Korea, Rep                   72  41   84   45    17    61   67     3  84     73    92     8  --       0  
 96  Kuwait                       53  --   85   46    56    28   20     3  93     98    87    --  15       0  
 97  Malaysia                     51  31   88   51    36    61   69     6  92     --    88    16  8        0  
 98  Myanmar                      46  46   --   --    --    63   72    --  --     71    80    --  1        0  
 99  Nepal                         1  16   21   6      8    53   62    --  --     --    97    18  14       0  
100  Pakistan                     12  1    32   11     4    11   15    --  --    100    96    27  15       0  
101  Papau New Guinea             28  6    61   --    11    74   76    --  --     --    65     1  25       0  
102  Philippines                  49  36   84   53    57    51   60    18  71     83   100    --  55     100  
103  Qatar                        59  --   79   61   100     7    3    --  --     --    83    --  1        0  
104  Saudi Arabia                 46  --   67   29    29     8    3    --  --     --    --    --  4        0  
105  Singapore                    65  26   78   52    32    54   62    15  80     66    88    12  1       50  
106  Sri Lanka                    52  36   82   --    30    43   51     5  95     69    96    15  13     100  
107  Syrian Arab Republic         48  31   74   31    22    25   25    26  100    78    94    27  1        0  
108  Thailand                     51  36   82   --    --    91   93    14  78     71    75    11  17     100  
109  Turkey                       44  16   78   23    21    60   67     3  99     86    93    10  1      100  
110  United Arab Emirates         53  --   84   50    67    10    1     2  100    --    82     1  1        0  
111  Viet Nam                     54  60   80   --    11    93   98    --  --     --    --    52  1      100  
112  Yemen                        40  80   1    1     16    10   15    --  --     --    --     1  1        0  

NOTES H1=Rank on Health Indicator1(Female - Male Life Expectancy) H2=Rank on Health Indicator 2 (Sex Ratio=Women/Men) S1=Rank on Education Indicator1(Ratio of Female to Male Enrollments in Primary School * 100) S2=Rank on Education Indicator 2 (Ratio of Female to Male Enrollments in Secondary School * 100) S3=Rank on Education Indicator 3 (Ratio of Female to Male Enrollments at University Level * 100) Lf1=Rank on Labor Force Indicator1(Female - Male Economic Activity Rates) Lf2=Rank on Labor Force Indicator 2 (Women's Share of the Labor Force= Female Workers/All Workers) Em1=Rank on Employment Indicator 1 (Women in Administrative and Managerial Occupations per 100 Males in same Occupations) Em2= Rank on Employment Indicator 2 (Women in Clerical/Sales/Service Occupations per 100 Males in same Occupations) Hh1=Rank on Domestic Life Indicator1(Women-Head ed Households as % of all Households) Hh2=Rank on Domestic Life Indicator 2(% of Women Who Are Divorced) Pol1= Rank on Political Indicator1(% of Parliamentary Seats Occupied by Women) Pol2= Rank on Political Indicator 2 (% of Decision-Making Posts in Government Held by Women) Legal1= Rank on Legal Indicator1(Signing/Acceding to CEDAW-Convention on the Elimination of all Forms of Discrimination Against