A Thomson Reuters Foundation poll ranked the 10 most dangerous countries for women, based on the responses of experts. They considered gendered issues such as violence, healthcare, and economic access.
Here is a link to the reporting: https://www.reuters.com/article/us-women-dangerous-poll-factbox/factbox-which-are-the-worlds-10-most-dangerous-countries-for-women-idUSKBN1JM01Z
And here is a ranked list of the countries:
- Saudi Arabia
- Democratic Republic of Congo
- United States
2 thoughts on “Most Dangerous Places for Women”
The US obviously has a lot to improve on, but I’ll admit that I’m more than a bit skeptical of this claim. Here’s some thoughts from a country that I’m pretty familiar with: Russia. In Russia, domestic violence is very common – easily as common as in the US, and almost certainly more so. (“Macho” culture, with the expectation of violence against women, is much more common there.) But, the police and the courts are also both seriously adverse to finding for women in these cases, and are not at all effective on their own. It’s extremely hard to get justice in any case, and “traditional” views on domestic violence rule there. There is no comparison with the US. Women make up even a lesser percentage in the government than in the US. Views on sexual harassment in Russia make the US look like utopia in comparison. (When I lived there, it was common to see adds for administrative help that _only_ listed the desired height, weight, and hair color of the female applicant. Maybe things have gotten better, but I am doubtful. That’s not close to the worst thing.) While healthcare is technically free, in fact you have to pay significant amounts if you’re going to get semi-decent care. Women’s health isn’t a priority. Life expectancy for women is much lower than in the US. The list goes on. So, this makes me doubt this list in a pretty serious way. (I also am very skeptical that, say, El Salvador and Honduras are better for women than the US. If they are, then many of the current asylum claims being lodged in the US are groundless. I don’t think they are. This again makes me very skeptical.)
Why should we care? Because, when lists like this are clearly rigged up, as this one is, it hurts their effectiveness. It also harms claims for protection and for women’s rights. (If the US is worse for women than El Salvador, no need to give asylum to women fleeing domestic and/or gang violence in El Salvador!) I suppose I understand the thinking. Grading on a curve isn’t always wrong. But this list is clearly wrong, and harmful because of that.
How was danger to women measured and weighted? As a feminist, I am also skeptical of this result. The article says the result was drawn from expert surveys, which is somewhat meaningless unless the surveys are demonstrably and proportionally reflective of statistics regarding violence, etc.
I think this is telling: “The survey came after the #MeToo campaign went viral last year, with thousands of women using the social media movement to share stories of sexual harassment or abuse.” Apparently, the same poll conducted a few years prior to this one, before #MeToo went viral, didn’t have US on the list.
The picture Matt, above, paints of Russia is rather true of Poland as well (except for the health care perhaps). Domestic violence is not just common, it is seen as normal.
Plus I just don’t think that things such as FGM, obstetric fistulas, or entire lifetimes of enforced sexual/general servitude via traditional marriage are on par with what’s going on in the US (or Poland).
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