The article concerns the question What are the best countries for women in Business? While we have provided some detailed information on women in business, we wondered about where women do the best. Is there one country where women are better off in business than other countries? Although, it was difficult to find statistics to prove one country was more appealing than another, we did find some information that led us to a few brief conclusions regarding the best countries for women in business.
Here is what we found:
According to the United Nations, “women’s educational attainment and income are highest in Sweden, Canada, Norway, USA and Finland”. One might conclude that these countries are good places for women to start when embarking on a business career, simply because it would suggest that women are paid more than in other countries. Realistically, this may, however, be due to the fact that these are industrialized nations, as opposed to third world countries where women earn pennies a day.
Another reason that Canada and the US would qualify as higher income countries for women is the ease at which women can start their own businesses. In general, women can start businesses out of their homes and grow them into something substantial. Many other countries in Europe and South America, however, make the act of opening a business very difficult for both men and women.
Also, although these countries still see discrimination in the workplace, their cultures are such that women are accepted. In many other countries, women are much lower in social status and are still subjected to poor treatment.
According to the World Economic Forum’s Global Gender Gap Report 2009, the top ten best countries for women in business are: Iceland, Finland, Norway, Sweden, New Zealand, South Africa, Denmark, Ireland, Philippines and Lesotho (enclave of South Africa).
The report examined 134 countries in 2009, and determined which of those that had the lowest “gap” between male and female equality. Interestingly, although women earn more in Canada and the US (UN stats above), neither made the top of the list.
Canada was 25 overall and number 21 in terms of wage equality, obviously not the most conducive country for women in business. United States was even worse at an overall position of 31 and a terrible 64th for wage equity. Both are countries were women are better educated, and each ranks tops in literacy, yet women are apparently still behind in equality.
Surprisingly, the Philippines actually ranks very high for “Economic Participation and Opportunity”. It seems that women are taken quite seriously in terms of business. Also, employers provide sixty days paid maternity leave and the unemployment rate is lower for women than men.
In addition to the statistics, points that women should explore when deciding upon a country in which to conduct business are:
- Assuming one could choose anywhere in the world and did not have to do business where she lives, the first things to examine are the obvious such as language, ability to live in the country, and cultural differences.
- Identify countries that show promise in terms of grants and loans to female enterprises.
- Find countries that are free from war, political conflicts or social unrest.
- Look for countries whose cultures allow women to dress accordingly and act in business negotiations.
- Stay away from countries where the majority of women are earning below poverty wages, unless your business venture and mission statement have the specific focus to help those women.
- Avoid countries that have traditionally demoralized women. That is to say countries where women are still considered property and where violence against women is normal.