Best country to work in for women revealed

·2-min read
UK behind 16 other countries in index ranking best places to work for women
The percentage of women completing tertiary education increased from 49% to 52% in the UK. Photo: Getty

The UK lags behind 16 other countries in providing women with chances of equal treatment at work, according to The Economist’s 2022 glass-ceiling index.

This year’s index shows for the second year in a row that Sweden is the best place to work if you are a woman, followed by its Nordic neighbours Iceland, Finland and Norway.

South Korea bottoms out the index for the tenth year in a row, with Japan and Turkey not far behind.

The UK showed up near the bottom of the top 20 list. Still, for the first time since the ranking began, the UK moved above the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD) average to claim the 17th spot.

Read more: UK ethnic minority women lost jobs and paid less during pandemic, data shows

The UK's share of women completing tertiary education increased from 49% to 52%, while its share of women in the workforce also grew, The Economist said.

The United States fell by two places to number 20, with decreases in both the proportion of women in the workforce and female GMAT-exam entrants. It is still an outlier for providing no federally-mandated parental leave.

The UK. ranks behind 16 other countries. Chart: The Economist
The UK ranks behind 16 other countries. Chart: The Economist

France fell two places to seventh place, performing well overall on female corporate representation but dragged down by growing childcare costs.

Germany went up four places to number 18. Female representation in Germany’s parliament increased to over a third following elections in September, while its parental leave remains above OECD average.

Read more: Cost of living crisis: Women hit harder by rents than men

Overall, women are still lagging behind their male counterparts in senior business roles, making up on average only a third (33%) of managers and just over a quarter of board seats across the OECD.

Elections held last year in a handful of OECD countries, including Iceland, the Netherlands, and the Czech Republic, helped to push up average representation of women in parliaments. When the index was first compiled in 2013, that figure was just 26%.

The index, which ranks countries within the OECD, combines data on higher education, labour-force participation, pay, child care costs, maternity and paternity rights, business school applications and representation in senior jobs.

Watch: Why do we still have a gender pay gap?