Photo Credit: Canva Pro/Pixabay

Data shows levels of advancement in equality and career opportunity for women in 100 countries around the world, focusing on political and corporate leadership, gender wage gaps, legal support, maternity leave and more.

Norway is the highest-ranking country in the index, scoring highly on political representation, corporate leadership and women’s legislation. Finland and Iceland rank second and third. Rwanda has most women in government positions, followed by Spain and Finland. Almost half of the countries (46%) in the index have had at least one female head of government in the last 50 years. Sweden has the most women in top management positions, while the USA has the most female entrepreneurs, and Japan has the highest female access to education score.

Digital Bank N26 has released a study which measures female opportunity and achievement around the world. Aimed at shining a light on gender equality in business, government and society, the research looks to uncover the many existing inequalities between men and women in the workplace and beyond. It also highlights the incredible achievements of women in both professional and personal fields in a difficult and tumultuous year as a result of the global pandemic.

Photo Credit: Canva Pro/Pixabay

Adrienne Gormley, COO of N26

“We conducted this study because we at N26 truly believe that women should have the same opportunities and freedom to be as financially independent as men, and this starts with having equal opportunity to be self-sufficient. The results show that women are still making incredible strides around the world as leaders in government, research and the corporate world despite the uphill battles they face. It’s up to us all to work together towards removing the unnecessary barriers to female self-sufficiency and achievement, and as a bank, we hope to do so in our own small way.”

“There has been a lot of discussion about the fact that female-led countries performed better than male-led ones during the height of the first COVID-19 wave. This has been attributed to a number of attributes such as better communication and more lateral thinking, however, the ultimate outcome is that countries with female leaders managed better during the peak of the crisis,” says Adrienne Gormley, COO of N26. “Data has also shown that in countries where there is more gender parity, poverty drops and economies grow, while new research has shown that companies who foster female leadership perform better and increase profits. This is something we strongly believe in at N26. No one can predict what the next year or even the next decade has in store for us, but one thing is clear, working towards advancing
female leadership creates greater benefits for everyone.”

“At N26 we firmly believe that everyone, regardless of gender, should have the opportunity and freedom to live the lives they chose. And yes, there’s much more to life than money, but we think it’s a good place to start. When we feel in control of our finances, we feel more confident, more independent and more optimistic about our future, helping us to reach our full potential.  We want to understand what can hold women back when it comes to being financially confident, to understand the drivers behind financial independence, and see how we can help to make a difference.”

Photo Credit: N26

The top 10 countries with the highest scores in the index

New Zealand94.18


Slovenia ranked #17 out of 100 countries in the index.


The index began by selecting 100 countries around the world, across all continents, with comparable data on women in the workplace. To establish the level of gender parity from the highest positions of leadership, N26 calculated how many years a country has been governed by a woman since 1970, as well as the total number of women in governmental or parliamentary positions. Next, they looked at women in managerial positions, as well as data around female entrepreneurs in each country, to determine which nations help to foster the strongest female leadership opportunities and achievements.

The research then turned to the number of women in the typically male-dominated arena of STEM, focusing not only on those studying, but the percentage of women actually working in that field after graduation. Next, as all women know, fair and equal pay is one of the biggest issues prominent in the workplace, so the average salary and the gender wage gap was calculated in each country. To help highlight what this means in real terms, the ‘Equal Pay Day’ was calculated for each nation based on the gender wage gap, revealing which day women practically work for free until the end of the year.

The data was complemented by investigating female access to education as an important indicator and enabler of opportunity, as well as legislation such as a woman’s right to divorce, workplace discrimination laws and more. Finally, a country’s attitude towards starting a family and how that interacts with work is a clear expression of gender parity, so the total days of maternity leave allowed in each country were included. The total score takes into consideration all of these data points to determine which countries are most successfully levelling the playing field, and which nations still have some way to go to improve women’s access to equal opportunities.

To view the full results of the study, click here.

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