Business, Economics and Jobs

'Glass ceiling' index from Economist concludes New Zealand tops for working women


A view of the Southern Alps on July 28, 2011 in Wanaka, New Zealand.


Cameron Spencer

Working women of the world, take note: the Economist's new "glass ceiling index" indicates that you may want to consider booking a flight for New Zealand.

The economics magazine — just in time for International Women's Day — compared 26 countries using primarily OECD data, using measures such as equal pay between genders, women's access to senior jobs, access to secondary information, and other metrics.

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Such gender analyses are nothing new, but most don't focus entirely on the working world.

New Zealand took first place in the index, rating high marks in all respects, while Finland ranked highest for female access to education and Spain was recognized for having the narrowest wage gap between the sexes: a mere 6 percent.

Where not to go for work? Japan and South Korea scored poorly, largely because of their paucity of women in leadership positions — new South Korean president Park Geun-hye aside.

The theoretically egalitarian US scored a none-too-remarkable twelfth place, coming in behind France but ahead of Belgium.

In 2012, a Group of 20 survey by TrustLaw, a legal news service of Thomson Reuters, analyzed the 20 contenders on a wide range of human rights metrics. The survey found Canada the best place to be a woman, while Saudi Arabia and India were the worst.

“India is incredibly poor, Saudi Arabia is very rich. But there is a commonality and that is that unless you have some special access to privilege, you have a very different future, depending on whether you have an extra X chromosome, or a Y chromosome,” journalist Nicholas Kristof said of the 2012 results.