The 10 Best Countries for Women

Did you know there is an International Women's Day? Well, it is March 8 and has been around since 1911. This day was designated by the Socialist Party of America in commemoration of the New York garment workers' strike. There are also reports that the day to honor women was initiated in 1917, when women protested against bread shortages in the Soviet Union. It is unclear as to which report is the most accurate. Suffice it to say that it was socialists, in general, who brought this important commemoration to the light of day.

In fact, in 1965 the Soviet Union made it an official holiday and declared March 8th a non-working day to honor the merits of the women who helped communistic construction.

In 2011 in the U.S., President Barack Obama proclaimed March to be "Women's History Month". Australia issued a 100th anniversary commemorative coin. In Egypt, the day activated a group of men who came out to harass the women who were celebrating, which was enough for the women to abort their mission and return home.

In 2017, the Soviet Union will highlight the 100th year anniversary of the Russian Revolution, which was ignited by the bread protest of March 8, 1917. Worldwide events and celebrations are planned for that day. That will include FEMEN, an active feminist group in the Ukraine, which is starting to enlist women to organize a women's revolution. Additionally, a global women's sex strike is planned by the International Union of Sex Workers.

Today we are reviewing the ten countries where women are a thriving and more equal part of their societies. These are some of the best locations in the world and they have continued to live up to their promises for working women.

Does it surprise you that the United States ranks 12th and did not make it on this list? One big reason might be because the Equal Pay Act that made it illegal for men and women to be paid differently for the same work was never enforced. President Obama has been a big supporter of the Paycheck Fairness Act, which is intended to reinforce the EPA. So far, it has been repeatedly voted down by one of the political parties - we won't name names. Yet, women represent more than 50 percent of this country's population. Go figure.

Check out this list of countries where women are the happiest, healthiest, make the most money and are most likely to hold positions of power. We think you'll be in for a few surprises.

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10 Denmark

Gallup conducted a survey across 147 countries with both men and women to see if there was a difference in happiness, earnings, power and health between the genders. While there was considerable disparity in some countries, others - like Denmark - made it to the top ten. The OECD Better Life Index also illustrated that women in Denmark are as satisfied in life, overall, as Denmark's men. Almost 90 percent of the respondents indicated they have more positive experiences in an average day than negative.

9 Poland

Poland came in ninth on our list. The OECD Better Life index and Gallup Poll both showed a better-than-average lifestyle for women than in other countries. For example, fewer women (3%) work extremely long hours than the index average of 9%. Nearly 90% have high school degrees versus the 75% average and high quality education is available for both genders. Although women are responsible for the larger share of domestic duties, they have more of a balance than in many other countries.

8 Portugal

For starters, the people in Portugal work fewer hours than the index average and only 6% of the women who responded said they had to work very long hours. The air and water quality were reported to be higher on the satisfaction scale compared to several other countries. Nearly 70% of both men and women reported having more positive experiences than negative in an average day.

7 Finland

With a population of 5.4 million people, this small country has over 6 million tourists a year. The average household income is higher than the United States average and 70% of the workers have a paid job. The women workforce is nearly the same as the men and they both work less than the OECD average of 1765 hours. A whopping 86% of women 25-64 have high school educations, which is higher than the 81% of the men in Finland. 81% of the women are more satisfied on a daily basis than not, which is higher than the average of 76% index.

6 Spain

Spanish women have more happiness even though their country's averages were a bit lower than the index: fewer high school graduates, less disposable income and few employed workers. Their overall happiness is partially due to their strong sense of community and higher level of participation in civic activities. A whopping 92% believe they know people they could rely on in times of need versus the 89% average.

5 Australia

The 22.6 million citizens of Australia are afforded a higher income, for both men and women, they work less than the OECD average and 83% of the women and men claimed to have more positive days than negative. Positive experiences are listed as: feelings of rest, pride in accomplishment, enjoyment and overall upbeat feelings and the women and men are reported as being equally pleased.

4 Canada

This country has 34.9 million citizens and of the 72% of adults who are employed, women comprise nearly half. More women have high school degrees (90%) than men (88%) but overall, the country has a high level of equality within a few percentage points of all things considered. Even the air and water quality is deemed high by both genders and 80% state they have more positive experiences than negative on an average day.

3 Sweden

Sweden performs well in areas of happiness and well-being for women. The gender gap is narrow and it ranks at the top of the OECD Better Life Index. The average household net-adjusted disposable income per capita is higher than the index average: $27,456 vs. $23,938. Women are nearly as employed as the men and they both work less than the index average of 1,765 hours.

2 Norway

In Norway, there is the smallest percentage of unpaid workers among women. That means they actually spend fewer minutes on doing things like cooking, cleaning and fixing things at home. Norwegian women clocked in at a little over three hours a day doing these chores while Turkish and Mexican women spend the most time. It's 4.9 million citizens are 76% employed and their disposable income is $32,093 vs. the $23,938 on average, which is considerably higher. Although money doesn't buy happiness, it often provides better living standards.

1 New Zealand

In 1893, the governor, Lord Glasgow, made history by signing the Electoral Act into law which gave women the right to vote in parliamentary elections. To put that into perspective, the United States did not pass a similar law until after World War 1 (1920).

In 2013, 32% of the parliament members are women and they have held positions such as prime minister, speaker of the House of Representatives and more. Although New Zealanders work more than some of the other countries on this list, the gender gap is narrow. In terms of enjoying their lives, 85% reported having more positive experiences on an average day in the OECD Better Life Index. The gender-wage gap is the lowest of all countries with a narrow difference of 4% and the incidence of children implies a strong balance between work and home lives.

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