Iceland has the highest gender equality index of 134 countries analyzed, according to a study released by the World Economic Forum Tuesday. The US ranked 31st on the list and fell four places this year. The US ranking fell due to overall labor force participation of women falling from 70 percent to 69 percent and stagnation in the political empowerment index, while other countries have improved.
The World Economic Forum’s “Global Gender Gap Report 2009,(see PDF) determined each country’s rank by examining how that country has reduced gender gaps in educational attainment, health and survival, economic participation and opportunity, and political empowerment. Their measurements were independent of the nation’s level of development, and focused on outcomes rather than on inputs.
Melanne Verveer, the United State’s first Ambassador-at-Large for Global Women’s Issues, said at the report’s launch, “Obviously I think every country wants to do better. It’s worth pointing out that no country has equality between men and women so we have a long road to go no matter where we live,” according to Reuters.