It's true that the world at large hasn't yet achieved true gender equality — but have you ever wondered if some countries might be doing better than others? A new report from YouGov found which countries have the most gender equality, and hey, guess what? According to the results, we could all stand to learn a few lessons from nations in the Scandinavian region — that's where women tend to enjoy the most equality with men.
In order to see how individual nations differ on gendered viewpoints, YouGov surveyed over 42,000 people in 24 countries to get the measure of those locations' attitudes towards women and gender equality. The participants were asked 14 questions about gender roles, attitudes, and expectations. 10 of these questions were "agree/disagree" ones, and four of those 10 featured statements that would be considered conservative, such as, "It is likely to cause problems if a woman earns more money than her husband." The other six — statements like "Creating more opportunity for women should be one of the world's top concerns" — would be considered liberal. The data from all 14 questions was then aggregated together to make up the total rankings.
Curious about which countries got to the top of the list? Let's take a closer at the top seven countries that scored highest on gender equality. To see the full methodology and results, head on over to YouGov.
7. Great Britain
Our friends across the pond came in seventh place — which is better than we did: The United States came in ninth (perhaps unsurprising, given the lessons we already know we can learn from the Brits about gender equality). Interestingly, the Global Gender Gap Index found that Great Britain had higher levels of inequality than other developed countries like it; however, their attitudes appear to be more progressive according to the YouGov poll, showing a potential gap between policy and actual views. There was also a significant difference between the liberalism of men and women in the country, since women collectively made up a score of 61, while men only scored 54.
France came in sixth place, with a collective national score of 59. Interestingly, men and women don't seem to have any difference in attitude about gender equality, as both genders had the same collective score of 59 from their survey answers.
I mentioned earlier that Scandinavian countries were the top winners in this ranking; Norway is just one of four Nordic countries you'll see occupying the top slots. It's no secret that these are some of the most progressive nations in the world, enjoying the most equality overall compared to other countries. However, although Norway tends to enjoy some of the most liberal social policy in the world, this is sometimes not reflected in actuality; the study also found many indicators that women are still suffering from many forms of inequality, despite policy.
It may be time for all of us to head down under, since Australia is the fourth most gender equal nation in the world, according to YouGov's data. There is definitely still work to be done, however; women's attitudes were much more equalist than men's, with women earning a score of 63 and men only 56. There are also still huge levels of pay inequality in Australia, as an earlier 2015 study found.
Another Nordic country known for its liberal social policy and general friendliness towards equality, Denmark came in third place in YouGov's poll. Still, though, women scored a full 12 points higher than men — 68, as opposed to 56. Looks like there still might be some work to do here.
Yet another Scandinavian nation joining the top contenders, women in Finland are enjoying the second highest levels of gender equality in terms of attitude, according to YouGov's findings. Finland also has a lot of policies around gender equality that have probably helped in the overall attitude of its citizens.
Drum roll, please: The country with the most progressive attitudes towards gender equality is Sweden! Not only do Swedish people have the most progressive attitudes to gender equality worldwide, but moreover, there's pretty much no gap between the views of men and women — unlike many of the other countries we've seen on this ranking. Ladies, does this make you want to move to Sweden to have a better chance of fully achieving gender equality? Because it sure does for me.