Women’s progress shows big gaps
KUWAIT CITY, Oct 26, (Agencies): Kuwait ranked 83rd out of 153 countries in the Women, Peace and Security Index 2017/18 released Thursday. On the ranking of other GCC countries, the United Arab Emirates (UAE) landed on the 42nd spot, Bahrain ranked 63rd and Qatar ranked 64th; while Oman was not in the index.
Meanwhile, Iceland and Norway are the best countries for women, and Syria and Afghanistan the worst, according to an index to be released on Thursday that measures a host of global gains and failures. Measuring and improving women’s lives is key to peace and security of nations as a whole, said the designers of the new index, the Peace Research Institute Oslo and the Georgetown Institute for Women, Peace and Security (GIWPS). The Women Peace and Security Index ranked 153 countries, which account for more than 98 percent of the world’s population.
Measuring everything from violence to cellphone use, it found big gaps both within and among the various nations. “The condition of women and the denial of their rights is certainly an early indicator of future instability and confl ict in a country,” Melanne Verveer, GIWPS executive director, told the Thomson Reuters Foundation in an interview. “If women are beat down, if their security situation is grim and deteriorating, if they are enormously marginalised, that is not a situation that is going to bode well for the country,” she said.
As is often the case in ranking women’s progress, the Middle East and North Africa scored at the bottom and Scandinavian countries dominated the top of the index, a copy of which was obtained by the Foundation ahead of its official release. But in many countries, progress has been dramatically uneven, it showed.
In South Africa, women have made strides in education and political representation, but fewer than three in 10 feel safe walking at night and a quarter report violence at the hands of an intimate partner, it said. “I’ve heard South African girls say to me, ‘I’m not safe in my home and I’m not safe walking to school and I’m not safe in the classroom,” said Verveer, who was the first US ambassador at large for global women’s issues. The index said that in Iran, most women have access to financial accounts and have more education than other women in the region. Yet Iranian laws restrict married women from applying for passports, give husbands power to prevent their wives from working and do not protect women from domestic violence.