Once again the Nordic countries take the first four places. Iceland is first, Norway is second, Finland comes in third and Sweden is fourth. Nicaragua is in fifth place followed by New Zealand , Spain, Rwanda and Germany. France comes in 15th with the UK coming in 21st and The Netherlands is 38th. At the bottom of the index are Pakistan (151st), Iraq (152nd) and Yemen (153rd).
When calculating the Index, the World Economic Forum takes account of the opportunities enjoyed by men and women with regard to economic participation, political autonomy, health and education.
It is the field of equality of opportunity in education that Belgium excels. Here Belgium comes joint-first (with 34 other countries). Belgium’s lowest ranking (86th) is in the field of health and life expectancy, where men score much worse than women. Economic participation (54th place) is another area in which we could do better. Here women score worse than men.
Belgium’s 34th place in the field of “political emancipation” is lower than it might be due to the under representation of women as ministers in the federal and the various regional and language community governments.