India is the world's most dangerous country followed by war-torn Afghanistan and Syria for women due to the high risk of sexual violence, according to a poll of global experts released on Tuesday.
Somalia and Saudi Arabia are ranked fourth and fifth respectively in the Thomson Reuters Foundation survey of about 550 experts on women's issues.
5. Saudi Arabia
7. Democratic Republic of Congo
10. United States
The poll of 548 people was conducted online, by phone and in person between March 26 and May 4 with an even spread across Europe, Africa, the Americas, South East Asia, South Asia and the Pacific.
"The only Western nation in the top 10 was the US, which ranked joint third when respondents were asked where women were most at risk of sexual violence, harassment and being coerced into sex," according to the foundation.
The poll was a repeat of a survey in 2011 in which Afghanistan, Democratic Republic of Congo, Pakistan, India, and Somalia were named as the most dangerous countries for women.
The survey asked respondents which five of the 193 UN member states they thought were most dangerous for women and which country was worst in terms of healthcare, economic resources, cultural or traditional practices, sexual violence and harassment, non-sexual violence and human trafficking.
Respondents also ranked India the most dangerous country for women in terms of human trafficking, including sex slavery and domestic servitude, and for customary practices such as forced marriage, stoning and female infanticide, the foundation said in a statement.
Experts said India moving to the top of poll showed not enough was being done to tackle the danger women faced, more than five years after the rape and murder of a student on a bus in Delhi made violence against women a national priority.
Experts also said the addition of the United States in the top 10 most dangerous countries for women came down to the #MeToo and Time's Up campaigns against sexual harassment and violence that have dominated headlines for months.
The National Commission for Women rejected the finding of a survey that India is the world’s most dangerous country for women, and said the countries that have been ranked after India have women who are not even allowed to speak in public.
NCW rejects survey report
National Commission for Women Chairperson Rekha Sharma rejected the survey report, claiming that the sample size was small and could not be representative of the whole country.
“The Commission rejects the survey in question. For a nation as big as India, with a population of approximately 1.3 billion, the sample size of the survey is not representative of the country as a whole,” she said.
“Women are very aware in India of issues and there is no way that we could be ranked number one in such a survey. The countries that have been ranked after India have women who are not even allowed to speak in public,” Sharma said, without naming a specific country.
With inputs from agencies