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These are the best countries for women to live and work in around the world

Women are technically working for free from today until New Year’s Eve – though it’s not the same everywhere

Sophie Dickinson
Written by
Sophie Dickinson

Today is Equal Pay Day – that is, the point where women effectively start working for free, on average, for the rest of the year. That’s nearly six weeks of wage-free labour. Charity the Fawcett Society calculated the day to demonstrate the economic reality of the gender pay gap. Oh, and apparently, the divide only widens as we get older. Great.

The pay gap isn’t the same everywhere, though. Some countries are much better on gender equality than others. A new ranking has named Iceland the best place to live and work in as a woman, citing high education levels for women and gender pay parity which is enshrined in law. Next is Finland, which came so high thanks to its generous parental leave and affordable childcare (meaning men and women are equally represented in the workplace). And Ireland did well, too. The gender pay gap there is around 8 percent, which – while it still sounds outrageously high – is one of the lowest in the world. Plus, the Emerald Isle offers 182 days of paid maternity leave.

Belgium, Denmark, Canada, France and Norway all did well, while the UK did not. Its average gender wage gap is 16.01 percent, which is higher than the global average of 12.28 percent.

The worst place in the world for women, according to the list, is Japan. While around half of women gain a higher education, the gender wage gap is a huge 23.48 percent. Turkey came second last, with Mexico, Chile, South Korea, the US and Israel also trailing near the bottom of the list.

So if you’re looking to move abroad, it’s worth looking into exactly how the gender pay gap manifests itself in that country. And women, you’re technically working for free from now till NYE. 

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