by Tanya Thomas on  November 12, 2008 at 4:54 PM Lifestyle News
Women’s Parity Highest in Nordic Norway, Lowest in Yemen- China, US Fare Badly
The World Economic Forum, on Wednesday, brought to focus again the issue of gender equality around the world. The Nordic countries retained their top rankings while economic giants China and the United States still need to catch up in terms of equality of the sexes.

In a study of women's parity with men in 130 countries, the Nordic countries of Norway, Finland, Sweden and Iceland once again took the first four places, with Norway the highest-ranking.

The WEF report measures the "gender gap" in four critical areas of inequality between the sexes - economic participation and opportunity, educational attainment, political empowerment, and health and survival.

China climbed 17 places from the previous year but still ranked just 57th, with the authors highlighting glaring inequalities in education, economic and political participation.

The United States rose to 27 from 31 due to a higher number of women appointed to positions of power, the report said.

Muslim countries had some of the worst ratings with Yemen at the bottom of the table and Saudi Arabia just two places above at 128.

A United Nations report found earlier this year that women in Saudi Arabia are the victims of systematic and pervasive discrimination across all aspects of social life.

Saudia Arabia is governed by Wahabism, a strict interpretation of Islam that imposes almost complete separation of the sexes in the name of Sharia law.

As such, it is illegal for a woman to be in the company of a man who is not in her immediate family.

Source: AFP

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