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The WORST nations for women

Last updated on: September 29, 2011 09:39 IST

The WORST nations for women

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A woman is treated in the most wretched manner in countries like Chad and Afghanistan, according to a recent survey conducted by Newsweek.

The survey, conducted among 165 nations, tried to find out which nations had the dubious distinction of being the 'Worst places to be a Woman in'.

The list "highlights not only where women are enjoying relative freedom and access to human rights and justice, but also where deficiencies remain", says Newsweek.

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Photographs: Reuters
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India, Rank: 141

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We may have one of the best growth rates in the world, but the fruits of development seemingly remain beyond the reach of most Indian women.

Of the 165 nations surveyed, India is ranked at a dismal 141st slot. Here are some nations which did better than us: Impoverished countries like Haiti and Malawi, politically chaotic countries like Libya and Syria, our politically unstable neighbours like Myanmar and Nepal.

Shockingly, though India boasts of a woman president, it scored only 14.8 in the field of woman's participation in politics and law-making.

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Image: A woman sleeps in front of her belongings, hanging from the shutters of a shop, in Kolkata
Photographs: Rupak De Chowdhuri/Reuters
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Chad, Rank: 165

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This central African country is known for its vast swathes of desert and shocking levels of poverty. Thanks to incessant famines, sky-high levels of corruption and violent, bloody coups, Chad regularly finds a mention among the 'worst nations to live in'.

Chad is at the bottom of the list, because, according to Newsweek, "Women have no legal rights in Chad and most marriages are arranged when women are 11 to 12 years old."

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Image: Women who fled fighting in eastern Chad gather around members of a delegation from the UNSC
Photographs: Finbarr O'Reilly/Reuters
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Afghanistan, Rank: 164

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Afghanistan has taken several steps towards female emancipation, including granting women a more prominent role in the legislature. But clearly, these steps are not enough as Afghanistan is ranked the second worst country to live in, for women.

"Nearly 90 per cent of women are illiterate and 85 per cent give birth with no medical help," says Newsweek.

Given the abysmal state of the public health sector, it is no wonder that the war-torn Asian nation scores only 2.0 in the field of health.

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Image: An Afghan girl whose family members were killed overnight after a raid by NATO and Afghan forces, covers her face as she weeps during a protest in Taloqan
Photographs: Wahdat/Reuters
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Pakistan, Rank: 158

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Pakistan has been universally acknowledged as the most dangerous nation on earth, so it is no surprise that it is among the worst nations for a woman to live in.

Come to think of it -- with frequent terror strikes, a wobbly government and a weak economy -- our neighbouring nation isn't much of a paradise even for its male population!

"Marital rape is not illegal and there were 800 honour killings in 2010. Violence against women is up by 20 percent this year," says Newsweek.

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Image: Women and children wait for free food at the shrine of Muslim Saint Data Ganj Bakhsh in Lahore
Photographs: Mohsin Raza/Reuters
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Congo, Rank: 162

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Several human rights organisations have expressed serious concern over how violence against women is considered normal by certain sections of society in Congo.

In the aftermath of its devastating civil war, certain parts of Congo continue to be terrorised by militias and rebel armies. Rape, sexual abuse and brutal violence have become common forms of oppression.

In a bone-chilling indictment, Newsweek states that "more than 1,100 women are raped in Congo every day".

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Image: Women who have suffered sustained sexual abuse rest while recovering from fistula repair surgeries in a hospital in Goma, Congo
Photographs: Alissa Everett /Reuters
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Saudi Arabia, Rank: 147

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America's best friend in the Middle East has the worst track-record as far as women's rights are concerned.

Women don't have the right to vote, to drive a car, to seek divorce or to inherit property in Saudi Arabia.

Women don't have the right to travel, study or work -- they need the approval of a male 'guardian' for these and many other activities.

A woman's testimony in any legal case is not considered trustworthy and violence against women is not considered a crime here.

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Image: Women pray in a shopping centre at the Zamzam Tower next to the Grand Mosque in Mecca
Photographs: Susan Baaghil /Reuters
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Bangladesh, Rank: 139

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Bangladesh suffers from several chronic problems like corruption, natural disasters, poverty and population explosion.

But in spite of being one of the poorest countries in Asia, at 139th rank, it fares marginally better than Big Brother India.

Ironically, though Bangladesh is ruled by a woman prime minister and the Opposition is also led by a woman politician, it scores woefully in the field of women's participation in politics.

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Image: A woman cooks using a makeshift stove in a slum as a train passes by in Dhaka
Photographs: Andrew Biraj /Reuters
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Myanmar, Rank: 91

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Myanmar is considered to be one of the most strife-torn nations in the world, run by its ruthless military junta. The ruling regime has scant regard for democratic norms or the welfare of its citizens.

And yet, this country fares way better than neighbouring India in the survey and manages to make a place for itself in the top 100.

Myanmar scores surprisingly high in the fields of education and economics -- 94.0 and 87.9. But thanks to the sham democratic system, the participation of women in politics is tellingly low -- 7.5

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Image: A woman holds a placard during a protest against Myanmar's military ruler Than Shwe
Photographs: Adnan Abidi /Reuters
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Japan, Rank: 87

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The third largest economy in the world isn't such a great place for women to live in, according to the survey. It trails behind economically backward countries like Cambodia and Botswana.

Though it scores decently in the fields of health and education, Japan's undoing is its inability to ensure equal political rights for women. It scores rather low marks in the field of women's participation in politics and law-making -- only 26.9.

 



Image: Kimono-clad women walk across a street during an event at Tokyo's Ginza shopping district
Photographs: Issei Kato /Reuters
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