Top 10 Most Gender-Equal Countries in the World

According to the Global Gender Gap report 2024, Iceland is the world’s most gender-equal country in terms of educational and economic prospects.

The Global Gender Gap Index ranks each country’s progress towards gender equality in four categories: economic participation and opportunity, educational attainment, health and survival, and political empowerment.

Iceland reclaimed the top rank, which it had held for 15 years, with 93.5% gender parity. It is the only country to have achieved 90% gender parity and was the clear winner in the political subcategory.

The 2024 Global Gender deficit Index reveals that, while no country has reached full gender parity, 97% of the economies included have closed more than 60% of their deficit, up from 85% in 2006.

Although Iceland was the only country to achieve the 90% level, eight of the remaining nine in the top ten topped 80%.

Although progress has been made, there is still room for improvement, particularly in terms of compensation for business graduates. According to current data, it will take 134 years to achieve full parity—roughly five generations after the 2030 Sustainable Development Goal (SDG) deadline.

Europe leads the regional gender gap rankings for 2024, thanks to its outstanding educational institutions and diverse professional options. The continent closed 75% of its gap in 2024, representing a 6.2 percentage point increase since 2006.

Seven of the world’s top ten most gender-equal countries are in Europe, including Iceland, the long-time leader.

Finland ranks second with a gender parity score of 87.5%. The second-placed country performs particularly well in terms of educational equality, having achieved 100% parity in 15 of the last 18 years.

Norway comes in third, with 87.5%. The Nordic country ranks second behind Iceland in the political parity subcategory, having more women in cabinet positions than men.

Sweden ranked fifth, keeping its Nordic position at the top of the list, with 81.6% gender parity. Sweden, a Scandinavian and Northern European country, has nearly perfect gender balance at the cabinet level.

Germany ranks fifth with an 81% gender parity score, with strong political empowerment for women and nearly equal ministerial representation.

Ireland ranks eighth with an 80.2% score, having achieved 100% equity in educational attainment, which includes literacy rates and enrollment in elementary, secondary, and postsecondary education.

Spain is the final European country on the list, and the last in the top ten. Spain is the only country in the top ten with a gender parity below 80%. However, it has made tremendous progress in gender equality, rising eight places since 2023 to into the top ten.

Spain and Ireland replaced Lithuania and Belgium, who slid from the top ten to 11th and 12th, respectively.

While Europe dominates the ranking, with 21 of the region’s 40 economies closing more than 75% of their gender gap, the gap between the top and bottom ranks demonstrates wide disparities in the region—Iceland, the highest-ranking, leads by 29 percentage points over Turkey, which is at the bottom.

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