In 1909, the first International Women's Day was celebrated. It came after a strike that protested against horrible working conditions for women, and since then, plenty of other women's issues have been brought to the world's attention.
Today, according to a report by CNN, a girl under the age of 18 gets married every 2 seconds. One in three women have been physically or sexually assaulted by an intimate partner in their lifetime. And, in 2017, annual pay for women equals what men's salaries were a decade ago.
Fortunately, some countries are on the right track. Nations like Austria, New Zealand and Sweden have risen to the occasion when it comes to making gender equality not a nicety, but a necessity, according to a new ranking from U.S. News & World Report. Unfortunately, here, we still have some work to do: The United States ranks #16 in the world for women.
Read on for the countries that are approaching women's rights right — and proving gender equality is not impossible.
This Scandinavian country is a champion of women's rights: It has one of the best paid parental leave policies in the world for both genders (parents get 480 days of paid leave split between them), women receive free or subsidized prenatal care, many daycare centers are gender-neutral to promote equality early on, and half of the country's political ministers are women.
Compared to other countries, Denmark has small relative gaps between men and women across education, economy, health and politics, and it offers an earnings-related daycare system. It also has one of the most flexible parental leave policies in the European Union.
In Norway, women can take 35 weeks of maternity leave at full pay or 45 weeks at 80 percent pay. The country is considered one of the most gender-equal nations in the world.
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New mothers are provided with a maternity nurse, which is paid for (at least partly) by insurance, and the country has done a considerably good job of narrowing the gap between men and women in various fields.
Canada has actually made protecting women's rights a part of its domestic and foreign policy, though it's worth pointing out that being a woman in this country isn't necessarily uniform. For example, indigenous women have far higher murder rates than the majority of other Canadian women.
The first country to give women the right to vote and to legalize universal suffrage, Finland also just founded the International Gender Equality Prize and, this year, all 9th-grade students received a free translated copy of "We Should All Be Feminists."
Ranked as the best city overall to live in 2017, Switzerland has long prided itself on promoting diversity and women's rights, though it only allowed women to vote at the federal level in 1971 — and was one of the last countries in the world to do so.
Both men and women show a high participation in sports in Australia, where the life expectancy is high for both genders.
For both genders, New Zealand is a safe, peaceful country that has been a leader in peacekeeping and global security. Since 1980, it has been a nuclear-free zone.
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