Switzerland ranked as best country for women's rights, according to the OECD

A Swiss flag is pictured on the Federal Palace (Bundeshaus) in Bern, Switzerland December 7, 2018. Picture taken December 7, 2018.  REUTERS/Denis Balibouse - RC1F1BC7CB70

Top of the table. Image: REUTERS/Denis Balibouse

Lin Taylor
Journalist, Thomson Reuters Foundation
Our Impact
What's the World Economic Forum doing to accelerate action on Education?
The Big Picture
Explore and monitor how Education is affecting economies, industries and global issues
A hand holding a looking glass by a lake
Crowdsource Innovation
Get involved with our crowdsourced digital platform to deliver impact at scale
Stay up to date:


Switzerland, which promotes equality at home and in the workplace, has been ranked the best country for women's rights, the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD) said in a report on Friday.

Denmark, Sweden, France and Portugal were the next best-performing countries, according to an index that ranked 120 nations on how they tackled discrimination against women through their laws and political reforms.

Meanwhile, Guinea, Jordan, Iran, Pakistan and Yemen came out at the bottom of the OECD's Social Institutions and Gender Index, released to mark International Women's Day.

Gender-based discrimination, including female genital mutilation, reproductive rights, pay gaps, and gender violence, were estimated to cost $6 trillion, or 7.5 percent of the global economy, the report said.

The OECD gave Switzerland a "very low" gender discrimination score of 8.1 out of 100 for having robust laws and social norms that addressed those issues.

Image: OECD

While Yemen had a "very high" score of 64 for its strict gender norms that restricted liberties, financial access, and justice for female victims of violence and rape.

"Despite a global realisation that women's equality is an urgent priority, we are moving too slowly in closing gender gaps, and in some countries gender gaps have even widened," said the OECD's chief of staff, Gabriela Ramos, in a statement.

The gender pay gap sat at 13.6 percent across developed countries, it said.

Women occupy less than a quarter of parliamentary seats globally, the index also said.

"We need to do more and to do it better. We need to be smarter in the way we design and execute policies and be held more accountable on the results. Otherwise we may be looking at another 200 years to achieve gender equality," Ramos said.

Have you read?

Some gains have been made, the report said.

Though one in three women globally still experience domestic violence once in their lifetime, it has become less socially acceptable, it said.

The proportion of women who said domestic violence was acceptable has dropped from 50 percent in 2012 to 27 percent in 2018, the OECD said.

Paid maternity leave is also now guaranteed in every country except Papua New Guinea and the United States, it said.

A report on Tuesday by global accounting firm PwC said increasing the female labour force to match that of Sweden - where 69 percent of women work - would add a further $6 trillion to advanced economies.

The designations employed and the presentation of material on this map do not imply the expression of any opinion on the part of the World Economic Forum concerning the legal status of any country, territory, city or area or of its authorities, or concerning the delimitation of its frontiers or boundaries.

Don't miss any update on this topic

Create a free account and access your personalized content collection with our latest publications and analyses.

Sign up for free

License and Republishing

World Economic Forum articles may be republished in accordance with the Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivatives 4.0 International Public License, and in accordance with our Terms of Use.

The views expressed in this article are those of the author alone and not the World Economic Forum.

Related topics:
EducationGender InequalityEconomic Progress
World Economic Forum logo
Global Agenda

The Agenda Weekly

A weekly update of the most important issues driving the global agenda

Subscribe today

You can unsubscribe at any time using the link in our emails. For more details, review our privacy policy.

Empowering women in STEM: How we break barriers from classroom to C-suite

Genesis Elhussein and Julia Hakspiel

March 1, 2024

About Us



Partners & Members

  • Join Us

Language Editions

Privacy Policy & Terms of Service

© 2024 World Economic Forum