What is the most dangerous country to be a woman?

What is the most dangerous country to be a woman?
Copyright REUTERS/Ajay Verma
Copyright REUTERS/Ajay Verma
By Pascale Davies
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India is the most dangerous country to be a woman, and the USA also made the top 10 in the Thomson Reuters Foundation experts' survey this year.


A Thomson Reuters Foundation survey has listed the top 10 most dangerous places in the world to be a woman. A similar poll was conducted seven years ago and a new survey came out on Tuesday to see if anything had changed. What are the world's most dangerous places to be female?

1. India

India was ranked as the world's most dangerous country for women. The poll said that was due to the high risk of sexual violence, which was higher than in any other country and also women being forced into slave labour.

In 2011, when a similar poll was last conducted, India came fourth behind Afghanistan, the Democratic Republic of Congo, and Pakistan.

This year, India also ranked the highest for attacks related to cultural tradition, which include acid attacks, female genital mutilation, as well as child marriage.

REUTERS/Anindito Mukherjee

Government data showed that four cases of rape were reported every hour between 2007 and 2016.

The experts that Reuters spoke to said data showed that not enough was being done to tackle dangers women face. It comes five years after public outcry following the rape and murder of a student on a bus in Delhi, which made violence against women a national priority.

2. Afghanistan

While Afghanistan ranked seventh-worst in the world for sexual violence, the survey found that Afghanistan had the world's worst healthcare for women. The country also ranked worst in the world for non-sexual violence.

REUTERS/Nikola Solic

Afghanistan's Public Health Minister said the deteriorating security situation was making life difficult for women. Large parts of the country are still under the control of Taliban fighters after nearly 17 years of war.

3. Syria

The country now in its seventh year of civil war, ranked as the joint third-worst country in the world for sexual violence, along with the USA

That violence includes rape as a weapon of war. It also came in second place behind Afghanistan for non-sexual violence, which includes conflict-related violence and domestic, physical and mental abuse.

REUTERS/Aboud Hamam

Maria Al Abdeh, executive director of Women Now For Development said: "There is sexual violence by government forces. Domestic violence and child marriage are increasing and more women are dying in childbirth. The tragedy is nowhere near an end."

4. Somalia

While Somalia came in 10th for sexual violence, it ranked highly and third worst for forms of retribution as cultural traditions. That includes stoning, child marriage and acid attacks as a form of punishment.

REUTERS/Feisal Omar

Women in Somalia have suffered from over two decades of war that has fuelled a culture of violence and weakened institutions.

5. Saudi Arabia

While sexual violence against women in Saudi Arabia was low, discrimination was second highest in the world. That included limited fundamental rights, such as job discrimination, an ability to make a livelihood and a lack of access to education.

REUTERS/Faisal Al Nasser

While women in Saudi Arabia can now drive, the experts said the lifting of the driving ban and arrests of female activists, showed there is much more that needs to be done.

6. Pakistan

Seven years ago Pakistan made the top five in the survey. Despite doing slightly better this year, it fared fourth worst in the world for discrimination and cultural traditions, which includes women's inability to make a livelihood and physical abuse or malnutrition as a form of punishment.

REUTERS/Faisal Mahmood

7. Democratic Republic of Congo

The Central African nation came in second behind India for the world's most dangerous country for sexual violence. It includes rape as a weapon of war, lack of access to justice in rape cases and coercion into sex as a form of corruption.

REUTERS/Kenny Katombe

The mineral-rich country is facing a period of heightened tension and renewed violence following the conflict known as "Africa's first world war" between 1994-2003.


8. Yemen

Yemen ranked fourth worst in the world for non-sexual violence and fourth worst for healthcare available to women.

REUTERS/Khaled Abdullah

One of the Arab world's poorest countries has been devastated by a three-year civil war that stemmed from the Arab Spring. The crisis has resulted in an ongoing war between the Houthis and a Saudi-led coalition.

9. Nigeria

The African nation is the fourth worst country for human trafficking, behind India, Libya, and Myanmar. It included domestic servitude, forced labour, and sexual slavery. It also ranked as the 10th worst country in the world for sexual violence.

REUTERS/Akintunde Akinleye

The UN says thousands of Nigerian women who try to make their way to Europe via Libya are made to perform black magic rituals known as "juju", which binds them to their traffickers before they are forced into sex work in Italy.

The north of the country has also been devastated by the Boko Haram insurgency that has seen the kidnapping of hundreds of schoolgirls and militant attacks in the area.


10. USA

A surprise addition to the list was the United States. The experts said it came down to the #MeToo and Time's Up campaigns against sexual harassment and violence. The US placed joint third with Syria as the country with the world's worst record for sexual violence.

REUTERS/Brian Snyder

The US also came sixth, behind Pakistan, for non-sexual violence that includes domestic, physical, and mental abuse.

About the survey

The Thomson Reuters Foundation surveyed 548 experts on women’s issues across the globe, including academics, health workers, policy-makers, and NGO workers.

The experts were asked to consider the following parameters: health care, cultural traditions, discrimination, sexual violence, non-sexual violence, and human trafficking.

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