Georgetown and PRIO Release New Rankings Of Women’s Wellbeing in 167 Countries


Overall progress for women found by second edition of Women, Peace and Security Index

Washington, October 22, 2019—Nearly 60 countries have significantly advanced women’s wellbeing in recent years while only one nation—Yemen—has recorded major deterioration for women’s rights, according to the second edition of the global Women, Peace and Security Index (WPS Index) released today at the United Nations.

The WPS Index, published by Georgetown University’s Institute for Women, Peace and Security (GIWPS) and the Peace Research Institute of Oslo (PRIO), draws on recognized data sources to measure women’s inclusion, access to justice, and security in 167 countries.

Norway leads the second edition of the WPS Index, while Yemen ranks worst. The United States has moved from 22nd to 19th place.​

“This comprehensive picture captures the ways in which women’s empowerment globally is heading in the right direction,” said Dr. Jeni Klugman, managing director of GIWPS and lead author of the Index.

“This is good news for everyone, as the world is more secure, peaceful, and prosperous when women are accorded full and equal rights and opportunities,” adds Dr. Klugman.

The most marked gains for women worldwide were in financial inclusion, access to education and legal reforms—including in some conflict-affected states.

However, progress overall remains slow and uneven. Ten countries have remained stuck in the bottom dozen since the first edition. 

Women’s employment is moving in the wrong direction globally, despite strong evidence that women’s economic participation is essential for growing economies. There is a 30 percentage point gap between the share of women and men in paid work and 2.7 billion women around the world remain legally restricted from working in the same jobs as men.

The Index includes a measure of intimate partner violence experienced in the past year. Around one in eight women globally experienced such violence, a rate that increases to one in five women in fragile and conflict affected states. The rates are as high as 47 percent in South Sudan.

New investigations within several of the world’s largest countries—namely China, India and Nigeria—reveal that Nigeria has the greatest state-level disparities, roughly equivalent to differences in women’s status between Mauritius and Afghanistan.

Only one country performs well in every aspect of women’s lives captured by the WPS Index.  

“The need to advance gender equality remains relevant in every country, including in the US which ranks 19th on the WPS Index,” said Melanne Verveer, executive director of GIWPS and former U.S. Ambassador of Global Women’s Issues.

“Progress to date is due to persistent efforts by government officials, private sector, and activists alike. We must redouble our collective efforts in order to continue moving in the right direction,” adds Amb. Verveer.

The Index appears in the November issue of National Geographic magazine.

Georgetown University’s Institute for Women, Peace and Security seeks to promote a more stable, peaceful, and just world by focusing on the important role women play in preventing conflict and building peace, growing economies, and addressing global threats like climate change and violent extremism. 

The Peace Research Institute Oslo (PRIO) conducts research on the conditions for peaceful relations between states, groups and people. Researchers at PRIO seek to understand the processes that bring societies together or split them apart. Founded in 1959, PRIO is an independent research institution known for its effective synergy of basic and policy-relevant research. 


Media Contact:

Sarah Rutherford, Georgetown University