New Zealand ranked the best country for women in the workplace

Close to breaking through that glass ceiling.
Close to breaking through that glass ceiling.
Image: AP Photo / Elaine Thompson
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New Zealand is the best country for women to work in, according to a new “glass ceiling” index compiled by the Economist that judges education, wages, job seniority, and child care costs. New Zealand is followed closely by Norway, Sweden, Australia, and Canada

The kiwi country has long had a good reputation for gender equality. It consistently ranks near the top of the World Economic Forum’s gender gap survey. Last year, the country mandated that companies disclose how many women hold executive and board level positions. And a little over half of the top 100 companies on the New Zealand Stock Exchange had at least one female director (PDF).

Yet the country still has a ways to go. The pay gap in the country last year increased 14%, its widest margin in 10 years, and nine government departments pay women up to 20% less than men. In 2011, the head of a lobby group famously said that New Zealand women made less because they took sick leave once a month. Women made up less than 30% of judges, less than 20% of top lawyers, and less than 25% of senior academic staff in 2012.

While the Nordic countries are known for the amount of women in the work force—Sweden has the highest rate of women in the work force (78%)—Spain and Portugal also ranked in the top 10. Spain has a wage gap of 6%, the Economist notes. The United States and Britain ranked 12th and 18th, respectively. Germany was in 20th place, just ahead of Greece.

The worst countries to work in as a woman, according to the Economist, are South Korea and Japan, where few women hold senior level jobs.