These Are the Countries With the Shortest Women in the World

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These Are the Countries With the Shortest Women in the World Newsweek

While vertically challenged men famously get short shrift, it's not always easy for their female counterparts either. Short women complain of not being taken seriously, and that's backed up by research—psychologists at the universities of Liverpool and Central Lancashire have shown that tall women are seen as more intelligent, assertive and ambitious.

If that wasn't bad enough, this bias seems to impact directly on wages. A 2015 study in The University of Chicago Press showed that tall workers received "a substantial premium in earnings."

However, there certainly are upsides to being fun-sized. A 2017 study from Konkuk University in South Korea found that the bigger the height difference between a woman and her husband, the happier the woman was in the relationship (if the man is the taller one, that is). That means shorter women may find it easier to find a mate of desirable height.

But what counts as small varies hugely from country to country. Data from the journal eLife, which has tracked global growth trends since 1914, shows that even for women born in 1996, there's an eight-inch difference between the mean heights of women in the tallest and shortest countries.

Women in Asia, South America and the Middle East tend to be the shortest. However, Asian women have seen a growth spurt over the last century—Malaysian women, for instance, grew from 4 foot ten inches in 1896 to being five foot one today. In contrast, Rwandan women saw an increase of just around an inch since 1896, after height increased, then decline from the 1970s onwards following war and famine.

However, thanks to their rangy European counterparts, even Malaysians still have a long way to reaching the global average height. No European countries are in the top fifty of the nations with the shortest women, due to a combination of genetic predisposition and good nutrition.

The country with the shortest women has a mean height of just 4 foot 10.8 inches—that's over a foot shorter than Dutch men, who are the tallest men on the planet at six feet on average. Using data from eLife, these are the countries with world's shortest women.

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50. Nigeria. Mean height: 156.32cm (5 foot 1.5 inches) Marco Longari/AFP/Getty Images
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49. Malaysia. Mean height: 156.30cm (5 foot 1.5 inches) Mohd Rasfan/AFP/Getty Images
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48. Palau. Mean height: 156.22cm (5 foot 1.5 inches) Richard W. Brooks/AFP/Getty Images
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47. Benin. Mean height: 156.16cm (5 foot 1.4 inches) Dan Kitwood/Getty Images
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46. Djibouti. Mean height: 156.11cm (5 foot 1.4 inches) Carl De Souza/AFP/Getty Images
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45. Federated States of Micronesia. Mean height: 156.09cm (5 foot 1.4 inches) Justin Sullivan/Getty Images
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44. Somalia. Mean height: 156.06cm (5 foot 1.4 inches) Mohamed Abdiwahab/AFP/Getty Images
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43. Sudan. Mean height: 156.04cm (5 foot 1.4 inches) Ashraf Shazly/AFP/Getty Images