While women across America joined together to demand gender equality by participating in women’s marches across the nation, women in many other countries are pushed to the shadows unable to participate in such a public display of political activism. Unlike the United States, where women have made great strides in progress in recent decades, women in countries such as Afghanistan and Chad still face forced marriages, honor killings, and a general lack of education. So what countries are the worst for women to live in?
Here are the top 10 worst countries for women based which still maintain patriarchal laws that place women in repressed and isolated positions, unable to break free from a constant stream of discrimination due to gender.
#10 Saudi Arabia
According to the U.S. News and World Report, Saudi Arabia has some of the strictest interpretations of Sharia Law, making it extremely difficult for women. In fact, in Saudi Arabia, a woman is forever considered the dependent of a man. Women are not allowed to leave home without their male guardian, unable to even go to the store without a male chaperone. To make matters worse, the laws are strictly enforced by the country’s police force.
In Saudi Arabia, women are not allowed to drive, to enter public spaces alone and only received the right to vote in 2015. Despite the ability to place a vote, most public spaces in Saudi Arabia are segregated by gender, ensuring women are kept under the close watch of their male guardian.
Women in Mali are subjected to female genital mutilation and sexual abuse in high numbers. The Huffington Post notes that life for women in Mali is anything but desirable with low rates of literacy and school attendance. Likewise, Mali is one of the few countries where the life expectancy of a woman is lower than a man, with a healthy woman’s life expectancy in Mali only 48 years. Women in Mali are also subjected to child marriages with one in 10 young women dying in childbirth.
#8 Democratic Republic of Congo
The Feminist Ezine notes that the Democratic Republic of Congo’s war has placed women on the front lines of systematic rape and abuse. The rape of women in the Democratic Republic of Congo is so widespread that United Nation’s investigators called it “unprecedented.” Women in this area are frequently infected with HIV, raped, abused, and left to care for their children alone.
The rate of child marriage in Nepal is astonishing with many young girls being sold to sex traffickers or husbands before they leave their teen years. Girls Not Brides reports that 37 percent of girls are married by the time they are 18, many doing so to escape poverty. The maternal death rate is also very high as 1 in 24 women will die in pregnancy or childbirth.
The Feminist eZine notes that honor killings and systematic rape of women in Pakistan is still widespread. For women in Pakistan living along the tribal border areas, rape is commonplace. In fact, in these regions, women can be gang raped or assaulted to pay for the crimes of their husband, brother or father. Honor killings are also widespread with women often executed for adultery.
Women in Somalia rarely escape the horrors of female genital mutilation with 95 percent of women in this nation undergoing the practice. The genital mutilation typically occurs when the girl is between the ages of 4 and 11. Following the civil war, women in the area are frequently raped, harassed and abused. Access to healthcare is limited and only 9 percent of women give birth in a healthcare facility.
For women in Guatemala, domestic violence and murder are abound. The women in this nation face the second highest rate of HIV/AIDS in Sub-Saharan Africa. A rash of unsolved murders has left hundreds of women dead, many with hate messages scrolled on their bodies.
Sudanese women in Darfur, the western region of the country, are subjected to systematic rape by militias and have little to no ability for justice. Over one million women in Darfur have been affected by the militias with rape, assault, and violence an everyday occurrence for women in this region according to Wonderslist.
For women in Iraq, the literacy rate is dropping at horrific rates. Once the highest in the Arab world, literacy is now among the lowest for women. Woman are kept from schools due to fear of rape and kidnapping. The Feminist eZine notes that women who once went out to work, now stay home. As a result, more than 1 million women have been displaced from their homes, and millions more are unable to earn enough to eat.
Women in Afghanistan are lucky if they live to see the age of 45. The average age of life expectancy is just 45-years-old, a year shorter than their male peers. Life is tough for women in Afghanistan with over 30 years of war heavily weighing on the region. Women in Afghanistan experience domestic violence so often that an astonishing 87 percent of women admit to the horrors of domestic abuse. Things are so dire for women in Afghanistan that they are the only country in which female suicide is higher than that of male suicide.
[Featured Image by Ebrahim Noroozi/AP Images]