Monday, March 08, 2010

top of the world, Ma!

That's where I'm heading one of these days, since countries in the far north tend to have a much better track record on gender equality as Katha Pollitt notes in her latest column. Although after #4 it switches to the bottom of the world - New Zealand - but that's where Jane Campion is from so not too surprising.

And the winner is... Iceland! According to the 2009 Global Gender Gap report of the World Economic Forum, the land of glaciers and puffins, population 319,000, is the most gender egalitarian country on earth, with women having closed 80 percent of the gap with men. Finland (2), Norway (3), Sweden (4) and Denmark (7) are in the top ten too, as is New Zealand (5). You could try harder, Spain (17) and Germany (12)--in 2007 you were in the top ten. And O, Canada: 25. Very sad.

Athough it's no picnic in the US, the report goes on to note all the incredibly vicious, routine ways that women are crushed by the patriarchy around the world, with things like abortion denied to women even to save her life (Nicaragua), honor killings (Turkey), as well as the crazy Sharia laws in most of the Muslim world, and places throughout the world in which little girls are sold into marriage to old men to pay a family's debt - which is nothing less than sexual slavery - all perfectly legal. And then there's the horrendous illegal stuff like child sex trafficking. When will the routine brutalization of women ever end?