Is There Any Country Without A Glass Ceiling?

The glass ceiling might be cracked, but it's still very much there — though it's more intact in some countries than in others. According to a new Glass Ceiling report from The Economist, women in the workplace still face greater challenges than men in every country surveyed. Not that there aren't countries who are clearly doing better than others when it comes to women and equal opportunity. So where does the United States rank? It turns out we are almost exactly average.

The Economist's Glass Ceiling Index began in 2013 and measures a variety of factors, including things like labor force participation, the gender wage gap, paid leave policies, the number of women on company boards, and child care costs. Using these and other indicators, each country is assigned a score, with 100 indicating full equality. While no country gets a perfect score, it's clear that the Nordic countries are doing a lot better than the rest of us.

Figures, right? What is it about Scandinavia that they're always at the top of all the good lists?

Out of the 29 countries that the index analyzes, Iceland tops the world rankings with a score of 82.6, and is followed by Norway, Sweden, and Finland, in that order, to round out the top four. Women in all four countries are in the work force in similar numbers as men, and the gender wage gap is significantly smaller than in most countries. But Europe in general is also doing pretty well, it seems. The top 10 spots are all occupied by European countries, with Canada being the first non-European nation on the list and coming in at number 11 with a score of 62.3.

As for the United States, we rank 19th in the world with a score of 55.9 — and considering the average score for the 29 nations surveyed was 56.0, that makes us almost exactly average. Go USA!

But hey, it could be a lot worse. South Korea, which ranked 29th, only has a score of 25 out of 100. In South Korea, along with Japan and Turkey, which rank 27th and 28th respectively, men are far more likely to hold advanced degrees, to occupy senior positions, and to be in the workforce at all.

But the report notes that all countries have room for improvement. After all, none of the 29 countries on the index got a perfect score. So really, no matter where you go in the world, you're still going to be working under a glass ceiling. It's all just a matter of how many cracks there are to slip through.

You can find more results from the index, and an interactive chart where you can create your own rankings, here.

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