The Female Opportunity Index 2020/21

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Written by Jon Kennard on 30 November 2020 in Press Zone
Press Zone

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.
  • UK ranks #4 out of 100 overall.

Berlin, Germany, November, 2020 - 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.

As part of their mission to help people feel in control of their lives, and their finances, N26 commissioned the study to understand where they can champion change and make a difference by looking into workplace achievements, and the factors that drive female independence.

While there is still much work to be done, the results celebrate the countries which are showing the greatest advancements in terms of equality and support for female achievement, while bringing attention to those who could be supporting working women better in 2021 and beyond.

How the study was conducted

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 was included.

The total score takes into consideration all of these data points to determine which countries are most successfully leveling the playing field, and which nations still have some way to go to improve women’s access to equal opportunities.

Please find the full table of data and complete methodology here