Study: US ranks 15th of best 16 countries for working women
- Denmark, Norway and Finland topped the list of the best 16 countries for working women, according to a ranking by finder.com released in observance of International Women's Day. Australia, the U.S. and Singapore rounded out the list in 14th, 15th and 16th place, respectively.
- Countries were assessed according to 10 criteria: vacation leave, job security, extra household hours compared to men, cost of living, labor force participation rate, gender wage gap, female representation in boardrooms, average working hours, maternity leave and retirement funds compared to men.
- The U.S. broke into the top 10 countries for only one category, reaching eighth place in extra household hours compared to men. And it ranked last in maternity leave. It came in 10th place for job security and cost of living; 11th for labor force participation rate and female representation in boardrooms; 14th for vacation leave; and 15th for gender wage gap, average working hours and retirement funds compared to men.
The U.S.'s low rankings for paid parental leave do not come as a surprise; the U.S. is the only country among 41 industrialized nations that lacks a federal mandate supporting paid parental leave. American government and public administration workers, however, have the highest number of paid parental leave days compared to workers in other industries, according to a 2018 SimplyHired poll. Of course, some companies, along with certain states, cities and municipalities, have passed their own parental leave laws. Caregiving policies also are on the rise, as more employers recognize the needs of workers who are responsible for caring for newborns or any other loved one who needs attention.
Gender-based disparity remains a pain point for working women. Although companies like Salesforce and Citigroup have moved quickly to close gender- and/or race-based pay discrepancies to address the pay gap, research has continued to predict that women face a long wait before they reach parity with men.
HR can begin removing barriers to women's advancement and overall well-being in the workplace by stepping up hiring efforts to bring more women onboard and into the boardroom and making workplaces more inclusive.