Justice captures both formal and informal sources of discrimination. It includes the absence of legal discrimination against women, access to justice, maternal mortality, and bias in favor of sons.

Access to Justice

While the absence of legal discrimination indicator measures women’s rights in the law, the access to justice indicator captures women’s ability to exercise these rights in practice. On a scale of zero to four, countries are scored on the extent to which women are able to bring cases to court, seek fair trials, and obtain legal redress when their rights are violated.

Source: V-Dem (Varieties of Democracy)

Best Country Score Denmark (3.96)
Worst Country Score Afghanistan (0.37)
Global Average 2.27
Best Regional Average Developed Countries (3.53)
Worst Regional Average Middle East and North Africa (1.69)

Notable Finding: Nine of the dozen worst-performing countries in terms of access to justice also score below the global average on the absence of legal discrimination indicator, underlining simultaneous formal and informal barriers to women’s justice.

Maternal Mortality

Maternal mortality is a key indicator of women’s access to healthcare and the responsiveness of the healthcare system to their needs. Our Index captures the number of pregnancy-related maternal deaths per 100,000 live births.

Source: United Nations Department of Social and Economic Affairs

Best Country Score Belarus (1.1 per 100,000 live births)
Worst Country Score South Sudan (1,233)
Global Average 212
Best Regional Average Developed Countries (11.9)
Worst Regional Average Fragile States (539.7)

Notable Finding: The maternal mortality rate for Fragile States is over twice as high as the global average and 45 times the Developed Countries average, highlighting how conflict and crisis can obstruct women’s healthcare access.

Son Bias

Son bias reflects a preference for boys, which indicates serious discrimination against girls and women. Our Index captures the extent to which the sex ratio at birth (number of male births per 100 female births) exceeds the natural demographic rate of 1.05.

Source: United Nations Department of Social and Economic Affairs

2021 2023
Best Country Score Namibia (1.01) Namibia, Zambia (101.1)
Worst Country Score Azerbaijan (1.12) Azerbaijan (112.2)
Global Average 1.07 105.7
Best Regional Average Sub-Saharan Africa (103.4)
Worst Regional Average East Asia and the Pacific (109.1)

Notable Finding: In Azerbaijan, China, and Vietnam, there are more than 110 boys born for every 100 girls, signaling a strong preference for sons and deeply rooted gender biases.

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