Whether you're talking about Bangladeshi women or American professional women, they all work a double day," asserts Sharon L. Camp, vice president of the Population Crisis Committee (PCC) and editor of a recent, worldwide women's rights study conducted by the PCC. The purpose of this special study, according to Camp, was to assemble facts and figures from around the globe that would graphically illustrate the extreme rigor of a woman's life particularly in the poorer countries of the world, as well as specify factors contributing to the continued tendency in most countries to classify woman in general as "second-class" citizens.
The study's findings were sobering. As might be expected, the richer countries were found to provide a greater measure of equality in their general treatment of women. Yet, it was discovered world wide that working mothers maintain, in addition to their job, the primary responsibility for the care of their children and also head most single-parent households. Other of the study's statistics revealed that women grow half of the world's food, but rarely own land, And although women make up one-third of the world's paid labor force, they continue to hold the lowest-paying jobs.
The report evaluated women's status in the five categories of health, marriage and children, education, employment and social equality. The ratings were based on a possible total of 20 points per division and 100 points overall.
No country had a perfect score, but Sweden came closest with 87 percent. The Muslim nations were clustered near the very bottom of the list, with Bangladesh finishing a distant last. Generally speaking, North American and European countries ranked high, with African, Middle Eastern and South Asian countries rating lowest. China and Sri Lanka scored much better than other relatively poor countries, but India was graded "very poor" - and Nepal, the world's only Hindu Kingdom, was even lower.
The study appears to suffer from some cultural bias in favor of western values. Additionally, the study charts the absolute, not the relative, rights of women. For example, while it is true women work long hours at low pay and own little land in Bangladesh, it is relevant that the men there are in a similar position.
Very good Fair Very Good
Sweden 87.0 Costa Rica 69.0 Kuwait 49.5
Finland 85.0 Hong Kong 69.5 Tunisia 49.0
United States 82.5 Cuba 69.0 Algeria 47.0
East Germany 82.0 Japan 68.5 Bolivia 47.0
Norway 81.5 Argentina 68.0 Iraq 47.0
Canada 80.5 Romania 68.0 Zimbabwe 47.0
Denmark 80.0 Trinidad-Tobago 68.0 Indonesia 46.5
Panama 67.5 Guatemala 46.0
Good Taiwan 67.0 Lesotho 45.5
Australia 79.5 Venezuela 67.0 Kenya 45.0
Bulgaria 78.0 Singapore 66.5 Mozambique 44.5
Jamaica 77.5 Ireland 66.0 Haiti 43.5
Belgium 77.0 Philippines 64.0 India 43.5
Czechoslovakia77.0 South Korea 62.0 U.Arab Emigrates 43.0
Hungary 77.0 Mexico 61.5 Zambia 42.0
Soviet Union 77.0 Ecuador 61.0 Cameroon 40.0
New Zealand 76.5 Colombia 60.0 Syria 40.0
France 76.0 Sri Lanka 60.0
West Germany 76.0 Extremely Poor
Austria 75.5 Poor Tanzania 39.5
Poland 75.5 Guyana 59.5 Morocco 39.0
Netherlands 75.5 China 58.5 Rwanda 38.5
United Kingdom74.5 Malaysia 58.0 Benin 38.0
Barbados 74.0 Peru 57.5 Egypt 38.0
Italy 74.0 Thailand 57.5 Nepal 37.0
Switzerland 73.0 Dominican 57.0 Libya 36.5
Yugoslavia 72.0 Paraguay 57.0 Liberia 34.0
Portugal 71.5 El Salvador 55.5 Senegal 33.0
Israel 71.5 Brazil 54.5 Malawi 32.0
Greece 70.0 Nicaragua 54.5 Sudan 31.5
Spain 70.0 Botswana 53.0 Saudi Arabia 29.5
Uruguay 70.0 South Africa 52.5 Nigeria 29.0
Turkey 52.5 Pakistan 28.0
Honduras 52.0 North Yemen 26.5
Jordan 50.0 Afghanistan 26.0
Article copyright Himalayan Academy.