Ever wondered which are the world’s most feminist countries? I must confess feminism has never been one of my travel criteria when choosing a destination, but maybe it’s a factor of growing older that I seem to be developing a keener interest in women’s rights. I stumbled on a list of the world’s most feminist countries on a women’s interest site, so I thought I’d share some of them with you, along with some reasons why you might want to pay a visit.
Known as the land of fire and ice, isolated Iceland is a pretty great place for women. Like many Northern European countries, Iceland is well known for its progressive views on gender and sexuality and is one of the world’s most feminist countries. In fact, the country’s last prime minister, Jóhanna Sigurðardóttir, was not only a female, but openly gay as well. In addition to its strong feelings towards gender equality, Iceland is a beautiful nation filled with stunning glaciers, volcanic rock fields, and natural geysers. Each year millions of tourists head to Iceland to experience the distinctive Icelandic culture and view its breath-taking scenery.
Tiny Finland has a long reputation for being one of the world’s female-friendly countries. It was the first nation in the world to grant women the unrestricted right to vote in the early 1900s and hasn’t looked back since. Today, women in the country benefit from generous maternity leave and state-funded childcare. Finland also excels as a travel destination. Between cosmopolitan Helsinki, the winter wonderland that is the Finnish Lapland, see the Northern Lights and the opportunity to truly experience the Land of the Midnight Sun, visitors rarely run out of things to do in this country.
Continuing along the trend of Northern European and Scandinavian countries, Sweden comes in at #3 on the list of the world’s most feminist countries. Gender equality is clearly an important cause in this country and has led to generous maternity and paternity leave for parents. Women also make up a majority of the workforce in this country. As a place to visit, Sweden has a little bit of everything. Art museums and cafe culture abound in Stockholm, while the country’s wild and rugged north is an excellent place to get away from it all.
Norway has the highest earning ratio between women and men in the world. It was also the first country to pass a sweeping gender equality law. Clearly, Norway has no problem with breaking down boundaries, and that’s probably why it has such a unique culture. Coming from a strong maritime heritage, Norway is a striking country full of colourful seaside towns, incredibly friendly people, and beautiful fjords.
The adventure capital of the travel world and one of the truly female friendly countries, if the out-of-this-world landscapes featured in the trilogy of Lords of the Rings films weren’t enough to boost New Zealand’s image, then the nation’s gender equality certainly will. This agricultural country in the far reaches of the Pacific Ocean has no problem with voting women into positions of political power. In recent years, women have held the prime minister, governor, and parliament speaker positions.
The UK may lag behind the top 5 world’s most feminist countries, but it is certainly making strides in the right direction. Prenatal health services are covered nationally here, and women make up a majority of higher education applicants as well. Frequent visitors to London will notice that women are also gaining ground in terms of workforce percentage. London is of course the UK’s biggest tourist draw with long list of memorable sights like Big Ben, the Tower of London, and St. Paul’s Cathedral.
America’s neighbour to the north rounds out the list of the top 7 world’s most feminist countries. Canada’s upper houses of government are made up of nearly 40% women - one of the highest percentages in the world. The country still has room to grow in terms of women’s rights, but is still a great place to visit. From the verdant forests of British Columbia to the French-speaking province of Quebec, Canada is an enormous country blessed with unparalleled natural beauty.
Are there any surprises for you in the world’s most female-friendly countries? I knew about Iceland and New Zealand, but didn’t know the list would be so dominated by the Scandinavian countries.
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