Sweden Has More Women in Government Than America – And We Should Take Notes


If you think America is leading the global charge toward gender equality, think again. According to the World Economic Forum's (WEF) 2013 Global Gender Gap report, there are a whopping 22 countries that do a better job of bridging the gender gap than we do, including — you guessed it — Sweden.

What's dubious about WEF's math? The Global Gender Gap report ranks 136 countries using 14 indicators to measure the size of each one's gender gap in four categories: (1) economic participation and opportunity, (2) educational attainment, (3) political empowerment and (4) health and survival. For each of the 14 indicators, each country gets a score between one (which represents total equality) and zero (which represents total inequality). The scores are averaged to determine the overall rankings.

Among the 136 countries, the U.S. took 23rd place with a score of 0.7392. Sweden, on the other hand, ranked fourth, with a score of 0.8129.

Of particular note is how poorly the U.S. compares to Sweden in category three, political empowerment, which looks at the number of women holding political office and the number of female heads of state over the past 50 years. In this category, the U.S. received a pathetic score of 0.1593. Sweden put us to shame with a score of 0.4976. The reason is that we have so few women in legislative and ministerial positions compared to our Scandinavian counterpart.

Sweden prides itself on its own gender equality, and rightfully so. Sweden's official website explains the country's philosophy on the matter:

"Sweden ranks as one of the world's most gender-egalitarian countries, based on a firm belief that men and women should share power and influence equally. An extensive welfare system makes it easier for both sexes to balance work and family life. However, the Government recognises that there is still room for improvement in many areas."

Clearly, the United States has some catching up to do.