I’m in New Zealand, so International Women’s Day was actually yesterday. However, the rest of the world being a behind us when it comes to women’s rights is nothing new. 🙂
We were the first women to receive the vote in 1893. In addition, currently we have the highest education level in comparison to our men. Unfortunately, that hasn’t yet transferred to our wages – we’re still behind there.
In fact, the average wage for women is a main reason we’re no longer number one on the Gender Inequality Index.
United Nations Gender Inequality Index 2015
These are the top twenty countries according to the 2015 Index:
It’s not easy to read, especially if you’re on a mobile device, so here’s the topline data:
8. United States
9= New Zealand
12. Hong Kong
15. United Kingdom
17. South Korea
There are plenty of reasons not to have much faith in the way the index is calculated though. A lot of the criteria are around human development rather than specifically women’s rights. For that reason Saudi Arabia comes in at 39th, UAE is 41st, and Bahrain is 45th.
Within the UN Gender Inequality Index, New Zealand’s women’s equality ranking is currently only 32nd, which is a disgrace. However, it’s not as embarrassing as the US – they’re 55th. Like Saudi Arabia, who’s equality ranking is 56th, their results in other areas drag them up the ranks. And yes, you read that right. With the combination of things they take into account for assessing women’s equality, Saudi Arabia is only one place behind the United States!
And although I agree that the US doesn’t do women’s rights that well, to have them only one place ahead of Saudi Arabia is patently ridiculous. UN reports have a tendency, in my opinion, to rationalize and excuse the negative impact of Islam on women. I also think politics affects results. The voting block of Muslim countries in the UN is very strong. In addition, the current head of the Human Rights committee is Saudi Arabia. (I wrote a post about this travesty some time ago.)
A report I’ve always found better than the one put out by the United Nations is the one from the World Economic Forum.
World Economic Forum Global Gender Gap Report 2015
Unfortunately New Zealand is going down in the World Economic Forum rankings too. In 2007 we were 5th but other countries are improving faster than we are so although our score is improving, our rank is down to 9th.
Here are the top twenty according to the World Economic Forum report for 2015:
The World Economic Forum sees countries like Saudi Arabia differently than the United Nations. Almost all the bottom twenty countries (of 144) are Muslim-majority. The rankings of Saudi Arabia, the UAE and Bahrain, for example are very different. They come in at 141st, 124th, and 131st respectively.
In the World Economic Forum Report, Canada is 35th, the United States is 45th, and Australia is 46th.
Canada’s lower level in the WEF report is mainly because of lack of political empowerment. The 2016 report will likely see their rank increase markedly due to the efforts made by prime minister Trudeau to increase female representation in government.
The main reason the US comes in so low is a combination of low political empowerment and poor healthcare. Australia’s problem is lack of political empowerment and lack of women in high level jobs.
Anyway, enough of me wittering on and back to the best part of the post – Simon’s Cat.
Simon’s Cat Celebrates International Women’s Day
Over at the Simon’s Cat blog, there are tributes to several of the talented women on the Simon’s Cat team.
And Just Because I Want To Post Them
From Pliny the Inbetween:
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Sure, NZ leads in a lot of things but American ahs the dumbest most useless Cheif Executive ever elected.
Thankfully he left office January 20th.
Wow, nice comeback, dude. You must be almost as smart as Mr Orange Squirrelhead.
Did you know that the Oval Office is now a donut? It’s got a vacant space in the middle of it.
Simon’s cat is real click bate. I come for the Simon’s Cat and leave with a ton of new wisdom.
To correct the historical record: When New Zealand women first voted (1893), they were not the first. At that time a greater number of American women already were enfranchised—and had been for nearly a generation—in Wyoming (1869) and Utah (1870).
Despite Utah’s early voting rights, I have somehow my doubts about it’s female equality credentials. Can’t put my finger on it, but there is that tiny little nagging voice at the back of my head.
Mine too, but I don’t have time to check it out. We’ve had this argument before as well.
Did not know about Utah, but always thought Wyoming was the first jurisdiction and NZ the first country.
Google in Canada had a real nice tribute to the date, but google dot com had nothing. Strange.
The Philipines and Ireland way above NZ, Denmark and the Netherlands (Gender Gap Index)? Some of these rankings appear weird, to put it mildly.
I took out a paragraph where I commented on things like that, including Ireland’s abortion law, and suggesting readers would be able to find a lot of anomalies.
With NZ, for example, our government is making an effort to do something about family violence which means there is an increase in reporting. It’s still under-reported of course, but the fact that reporting is increasing is a good thing because it means victims feel something will be done about it.
Relying on reported statistics for any kind of violence towards women, especially sexual violence, is very complex. Many countries that have the lowest levels are actually the worst. Women especially don’t report rape in countries with strong honour cultures because of the stigma, but the attitude towards women in such cultures means it’s more prevalent.
Yes you mentioned it indeed, but I find it so blatantly ridiculous I had to remark on it.
Reminds me of this fancyful IHEU map about freedom of expression, where NZ, Denmark and Germany were ‘red’ (in a green, yellow, orange, red to black scale), while Congo Brazzaville and Ukraine were ‘yellow’. Only the Netherlands, Belgium and Taiwan(!) were ‘green’. I think NZ was ‘red’ for a blasphemy law that hasn’t been used in living memory. As said, ridiculous.
IHEU = International Humanist and Ethical Union.
Yes, NZ gets a bad mark on that report every year which frustrates me. One of the reasons is we have a religious symbol on our flag – that “religious symbol” is the Southern Cross constellation which is more about the stars you can see in our skies than religion. It’s on the Aussie flag too. The other religious symbol on there is the Union Flag in the top left corner. Again, that’s not there for religious reasons but because we were a colony of Great Britain.
We have a blasphemy law, which is an embarrassment. However, it’s only been used once, in the 1920s, and it failed. Some church groups tried to use it again about 15 years ago, but the Human Rights Act meant they were unable to even bring a case. Basically the Human Rights Act stops anyone using the Blasphemy Act.
There is indeed a far-fetched theory that Cristianity is symbolically based on the constellations, including the Southern Cross, and the precession movement of the Earth. I would, however, be surprised if the designers of the NZ and Ausie flags did have that in mind. [Wasn’t there a recent (tic) attempt to replace the NZ flag by a dildo-flag? If I were a NZ-er, I would have gone for the Silver Fern though]
The Union Jack is different, St George’s Cross, St Andrew’s Cross, etc. All Scandinavian coutries have a cross in their flags too. And yes, it is just historical and has absolutely nothing to do with freedom of expression. If these flags are among the reasons given, it is even more ridiculous than I thought, and that is a reference.
Yeah, we had a vote last year with four choices. I voted to change to one of the new ones (which included a Silver Fern in the design) but a majority voted to keep the old one. The whole process was badly handled and it became a referendum on the prime minister for a lot of people, which was a shame. We need a new flag that reflects us better, but because of how it was handled last time it while be a while before we get another chance to change.
I was wondering whatever happened to the flag effort. Interesting that the process degenerated into politics. Unfortunate too. I favored the fern design and figured if the people of NZ had good taste, they would agree with me and go with the vegetable. 😎
The Canadian flag (red maple leaf with side bands, also a vegetable ) was adopted in 1964 by a committee which included members of the various parties. The choice had been quite political for a long time, but in the end, the vote was 14 to 0 for the new design.
Happy St. Pat’s!
The fern is indeed popular here too, and may have made it onto the flag, though many were against it because a white fern on black is associated with sports teams and in particular the All Blacks, and many feel the national flag should say something else. There was always going to be a fern option to choose from, but the PM skewed the pitch from the start by stating his preference not just for the fern, but for a particular flag design, which he and some other Ministers started campaigning for, wearing it on their lapels, etc. In the end, the “independent” panel selected four flags for Kiwis to choose from, three of which included a fern and two of which just happened to be the exact design preferred by the PM, with only slightly different colour schemes. It was a farce and a rare massive political miscalculation for an otherwise extremely savvy PM, and it drove more support to the current flag. As I would never vote for a union jack even in protest, but wasn’t about to support John Key’s vanity project either, I spoiled my ballot as a protest of the whole disgraceful episode.
I’m glad you recorded your protest the way you did. Few things pi$$ me off more than people who say they didn’t vote “in protest”. That’s just an excuse for not voting. A protest vote means turning up and spoiling your ballot in some way such as crossing all the names off. In fact I wrote a post on the topic very early on: To Vote Or Not To Vote . I had about seven subscribers at the time, so not many people have ever read it!
I personally agree, though I have heard cogent arguments for not voting and can support that choice if it is made deliberately. In this case, it was important for another reason as well though. As you mentioned, it may be awhile before we get another referendum. Spoiled votes are recorded and reported in NZ, so I’d hoped a lot of people who supported change but were turned off by how this was run and the choices that resulted would spoil their votes so that the total votes for the new flag plus those spoiled was a large percentage together, ideally over 50%, demonstrating support for change but not this particular change. But there was no organised campaign for this outcome and the spoiled votes numbered less than a percent, I think.
Checked your choices for the new flag, not much choice there indeed. Did not like the ‘red peak’ design. Noted also no ‘kiwi-themed’ flag.
Kosovo (!) and Guinee Bissau (!) are ‘green’ too, I see now.
Yeah – it goes on laws rather than what actually happens. We don’t have a formal constitution which puts us at a disadvantage too. We had atheist PMs from 1999-2016, and multiple atheists in parliament as well as all sorts of religions, including Rastafarian, Sikh, Muslim etc. Plus multiple openly gay and lesbian (and one transgender) MPs. That couldn’t happen in the US but they score better than us on government because of the First Amendment.
Sorry, Sierra Leone, not Guinee Bissau.
Would rather live in ‘red’ NZ than in ‘green’ Kosovo. Heard that the Salafists Wahabists have gained influence there too.
Btw sorry for your loss in the second test, but the Black Caps really lost their way in the second innings. I find them one of the more sympathetic teams, but I think they can do -and should have done- better.