International Women’s Day 2018: The Best Countries in the World to Be a Woman

Best countries for womenCreative Commons
20. Portugal. Pictured, a woman holds a banner during a gathering to mark International Women's Day in downtown Lisbon, March 8, 2017. REUTERS/Rafael Marchante

It’s good to be a woman, especially if you live in Northern Europe.

On the eve of International Women's Day 2018, we looked at the 20 best countries in the world to be a woman. It turns out Scandinavian nations with records of human rights and social services—places also ranked as the happiest nations on the planet and the nations that best take care of elderly people—were also great places for women looking to be treated equal to men.

Finland, the first country in the world to give women unrestricted rights to vote, ranked high on the list. The Netherlands, where the government grants mothers a maternity nurse, was another good place for women to call home.

Outside of Northern Europe, Canada was an attractive country for women. The North American nation of 36 million people may be sparsely populated, but when people do come across each other, they are generally welcoming, especially to immigrants and refugees, according to the ranking.

Australia also was highlighted as a top country for women. The wealthy nation enjoys high life expectancy for women and men, has legal same-sex marriage and embraces global efforts to reduce greenhouse gas emissions and improve the environment.

In the Middle East, the United Arab Emirates, one of the most liberal countries in the region, was ranked as the 28th country for women, ahead of its neighbors.

The United States, one of the world’s biggest economic and military powers, was ranked 16th on the list of the best countries for women.

The rankings are based on the responses of more than 9,000 women who filled out a  U.S. News and World Report Best Countries survey. Each country's ranking is based on five attributes: how human rights are viewed, equal rights between men and women, safety, progress and economic inequality.

19. Italy. Pictured, a model presents a creation from the Gucci Autumn/Winter 2018 women collection during Milan Fashion Week in Milan, Italy February 21, 2018. REUTERS/Tony Gentile/File Photo
18. Spain. Pictured, women wearing traditional mantilla dresses and penitents wait in front of the float bearing the statue of the Virgin inside a church before taking part in the procession of "La Soledad" brotherhood, during Holy Week in Ronda, near Malaga, southern Spain, March 30, 2018. REUTERS/Jon Nazca
17. Japan. Pictured, women in similar outfit check their mobile phones at Harajuku shopping district in Tokyo, Japan March 15, 2018. REUTERS/Kim Kyung-Hoon
16. United States. Pictured, people participate in the Second Annual Women's March in Washington, U.S. January 20, 2018.REUTERS/Leah Millis
15. Ireland. Pictured, protesters pose for a photograph with a banner before they take part in the Women's March on Dublin, Ireland January 21, 2017. The march formed part of a worldwide day of action following the election of Donald Trump to U.S. president. REUTERS/Clodagh Kilcoyne
13. United Kingdom. Britain's Catherine, Duchess of Cambridge walks with the flower boys and girls after the wedding of Pippa Middleton and James Matthews at St Mark's Church in Englefield, west of London, on May 20, 2017.REUTERS/Kirsty Wigglesworth/Pool
14. France. Pictured, burlesque dancers perform during the 5th Pink Bra Spring and Bra Toss and help Push Up the Fight Against Breast Cancer event at the Trocadero Square near the Eiffel Tower in Paris March 16, 2014. REUTERS/Benoit Tessier
12. Austria. Pictured, Austrian Interior Minister Johanna Mikl-Leitner addresses a news conference in Traiskirchen, Austria, September 7, 2015. REUTERS/Heinz-Peter Bader
11. Luxembourg. Pictured, Charline Mathias of Luxembourg competes in the women's 800 metres heats at the IAAF World Championships at the National Stadium in Beijing, China August 26, 2015. REUTERS/David Gray
10. Germany. Pictured, Germany's Chancellor Angela Merkel addresses a joint news conference with U.S. President Donald Trump in the East Room of the White House in Washington, U.S., April 27, 2018. REUTERS/Kevin Lamarque
9. New Zealand. Pictured, eldest daughter of the late Maori Queen Dame Te Atairangikaahu, Heeni Katipa (L), sits beside her mother's coffin during her tangihanga (funeral ceremony) at the Tuurangawaewae Marae (home of the late Queen) in Ngaruawahia, New Zealand, August 20, 2006. REUTERS/Peter Drury/Pool
8. Australia. Pictured, a girl stands on a cliff as large waves batter the coastline in severe weather bringing strong winds and heavy rain hits the eastern coast of Australia near Clovelly Beach in Sydney, June 5, 2016. REUTERS/David Gray