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Is the U.S. the Best Place in the World to Be a Woman?

This new United Nations report makes it clear that in many countries around the world, being a woman is dangerous to your health, to say nothing of your future prospects or pursuit of happiness. From the executive summary: “The roots of violence against women lie in historically unequal power relations between men and women and pervasive discrimination against women in both the public and private spheres. Patriarchal disparities of power, discriminatory cultural norms and economic inequalities serve to deny women’s human rights and perpetuate violence. Violence against women is one of the key means through which male control over women’s agency and sexuality is maintained.”

The full downloadable report offers a rollup, toward the end, of the cost of violence against women. But these costs are derived from a hodgepodge of studies from just a few countries and make comparison pretty much impossible; and, perhaps more important, they address the downside of violence only in financial cost.

But the report got me to thinking: Is the U.S. the best place in the world to be a woman? I am guessing the answer is no. The Scandinavian countries come to mind, as does Canada and some countries in western Europe. But in terms of health, education, income, cultural and political opportunities — and, yes, the level of violence — I would have to think that the U.S. is at the very least in the world’s top 10. What do you think?