The Gender Gap Report headed and presented by Saadia Zahidi, member of the Executive Committee at the World Economic Forum, revealed that Iceland is currently the best performing country in terms of gender issues. They were at 86% last year, and this year have come to about 88.1%. She also stated that if the country continued to change at their current rate, they could be the first to close the gap.
The detailed report makes a case for all the 145 countries that were a part of the analysis, does so on the grounds of health, education, political participation and workforce participation of women. On a scale of 0 to 1, where one means absolute utopia, Iceland’s score is 0.881.
There is one woman for every man in technical and professional work, and they have a balanced male-female ratio. In terms of education, everyone is participating equally at all levels. In fact, there are women than men at the tertiary level of education!
They are lagging behind in health and life-expectancy, at the 118th spot. Although their score is still way better than that of India. There is also some ground to cover in terms of women’s political participation, both in the parliament and at ministerial positions. There is also a small gap between men and women in political leadership.
After reading the report, I was totally interested in settling down in this idealistic land, where a lot of Game of Thrones has also been shot (for those who know, from Castle Black to Beyond the Wall, most of it is this beautiful country). On further research, I realized that there were things that were very interesting about the place, apart from the fact that Icelanders have great respect for nature and have preserved their resources pretty well over the years.
They source their produce locally, they are hardly dependent on imports;
There is a sense of community living and people cherish that. There are only a handful of hotels here, so if you want to visit, you will find it way easier to stay in guest houses that local families run;
It’s a free market economy, where taxes are too low. Despite that, Iceland is one of the wealthiest countries in the world, with a mind boggling per capita income of $41237! (India is at $5565)
The country was the fastest to recover from the global debt crisis, although they did have to meet a lot of initial global criticism. In 2013, when President Ólafur Ragnar Grímsson was asked how, he said “We were wise enough not to follow the traditional prevailing orthodoxies of the Western financial world in the last 30 years. We introduced currency controls, we let the banks fail, we provided support for the poor, and we didn’t introduce austerity measures like you’re seeing in Europe.” (NewEurope)