Best countries for working women

Which country would you want to work in?

International Women’s Day statistics

In celebration of International Women’s Day (IWD), we’ve compared 16 countries across 10 metrics to determine which nation is the best country for working women.

While a lot of IWD discussion is centred on the gender pay gap, this ranking system also takes into account broader considerations that influence whether a country is a good place to work. These categories include financial metrics such as the percentage of retirement savings women have compared to men as well as quality of life measures, such as paid holiday leave and the average number of additional hours women spend on household work compared to men.

We sourced data from a range of different government, private industry and prominent media sites and then ranked the countries for each metric on a scale of 1 (best score) to 16 (worst score). The fewer points the country received overall, the more favourable the country is considered for women who want to work. Here’s how they scored:

So how does the UK rank?

The UK ranked 11th overall, behind France (8), Canada (9) and the Netherlands (10).

The UK’s best individual ranking was for job security, which was ranked based on the percentage of workers at risk of unemployment, according to OECD data (2.6%). This was followed by the amount of paid holiday leave, with a total of 36 minimum paid days – not bad, unless you compare it to Austria’s 43 days.

The UK’s rankings across every metric

Metric Rank
Extra household hours compared to men 9
Maternity leave 9
Average working hours 6
Retirement funds compared to men 9
Labour participation rate 10
Cost of living 11
Female representation in board rooms 7
Job security 5
Gender wage gap 13
Holiday leave 5

The UK’s worst rankings

The UK had one of the lowest scores for the gender wage gap, at a reported 16.8%. To compare, Denmark had the smallest gender pay gap at just 5.73%, while Singapore had the largest gap at 20%.

Although it’s not included in this ranking system, it’s also worth noting that the FTSE 100 has just 6 female CEOs listed. This means women were outnumbered by men named Stephen (or a variation of), with 7 FTSE 100 CEOs going by this name. However, British women actually fared better than some countries. For example, Canada doesn’t have a single female CEO on the S&P/TSX 60.

FTSE 100

Women vs men Number of CEOs
Women 6
Andrew 4
Davids 6
Steve/Steven/Stephen 7
John 4
Michael 2
Robert 4
Peter 5

We’ll have what they’re having, thanks!

With Scandinavian countries taking four of the top five rankings overall, it’s clear they’re doing something right. According to data from the OECD, Sweden, Denmark, Norway and Finland all ranked well for maternity leave, which was ranked based on the total amount of paid maternity and parental leave.

While it wasn’t accounted for in the rankings, some Scandinavian countries provide extra bonuses in addition to these benefits. New parents in Finland even receive a maternity package that includes all the clothes and supplies they need to look after the newest addition to their family. Talk about a baby bonus!

Scandinavian countries also tended to have the smallest disparity between unpaid household work done by women compared to men.

Country Annual leave Gender Wage Gap Female Representation on Boards Female Work Participation Rate Extra household hours by women Maternity Leave Female Retirement Savings Job Security Average Weekly Working Hours Cost of living
Denmark 5 1 0 8 1 7 1 4 3 0
Sweden 8 7 5 3 1 5 6 0 0 4
Norway 8 2 2 4 3 2 0 7 5 0
Canada 0 0 8 5 4 6 5 11 8 8
Finland 3 12 4 0 4 1 4 7 0 3
Netherlands 12 8 0 8 10 0 10 2 1 7
Ireland 3 6 3 0 0 11 6 2 6 13
United Kingdom 5 0 7 10 9 9 9 5 6 11
Germany 10 10 0 0 6 4 10 1 2 2
Iceland 2 4 15 1 0 10 0 5 12 16
France 5 4 1 0 6 8 6 0 10 14
Australia 12 8 5 7 13 0 0 12 8 8
Austria 1 15 11 0 12 3 1 7 3 1
United States 14 15 11 11 8 0 0 10 15 10
New Zealand 11 3 0 2 11 12 12 0 10 6
Singapore 16 16 15 6 0 13 3 0 16 14

Worst of the best

Singapore ranked as the worst country for working women compared to other top countries. Notably, it took the bottom spot for the average weekly working hours at 45 hours a week and for the gender pay gap. It also ranked in the bottom half of countries for maternity leave (10th place).

The United States came in second last overall, right after Australia. The United States didn’t rank in the top half for any of the metrics analysed and had some of the worst rankings for maternity leave, annual leave, the gender pay gap and the retirement savings gap.

Australia also ranked poorly in terms of women’s retirement savings, as well as maternity leave benefits. Australian women receive 18 weeks of paid maternity and parental leave, according to data from the OECD.


Finder sourced and analysed data from the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD) for the amount of unpaid household hours, maternity and parental leave benefits, and the percentage of people at risk of losing their job. Data on the female participation rate in the workforce was sourced from the World Bank.

Click here for more research. For all media enquiries, please contact:

Matt Mckenna
Head of UK communications
T: +44 20 8191 8806

Related articles

Compare savings accounts

Compare savings accounts

Compare savings accounts in our table – find the best rates and perks.

Read more…
Methodology for savings account ratings

Methodology for savings account ratings

You’ll find customer satisfaction star ratings on some of our savings accounts. Here’s how we came up with them.

Read more…
How to open a new savings account

How to open a new savings account

Learn more about opening a savings account with our guide.

Read more…
Flexible ISAs: What they are and how they work

Flexible ISAs: What they are and how they work

Learn more about how flexible ISAs work.

Read more…
Compare 2-year fixed rate cash ISAs

Compare 2-year fixed rate cash ISAs

Find out more about the pros and cons of 2-year fixed rate cash ISAs

Read more…
Compare regular savings ISAs

Compare regular savings ISAs

Find out more about how regular savings ISAs work.

Read more…

More guides on Finder

Ask an Expert

You are about to post a question on

  • Do not enter personal information (eg. surname, phone number, bank details) as your question will be made public
  • is a financial comparison and information service, not a bank or product provider
  • We cannot provide you with personal advice or recommendations
  • Your answer might already be waiting – check previous questions below to see if yours has already been asked provides guides and information on a range of products and services. Because our content is not financial advice, we suggest talking with a professional before you make any decision.

By submitting your comment or question, you agree to our Privacy and Cookies Policy and Terms of Use.

Questions and responses on are not provided, paid for or otherwise endorsed by any bank or brand. These banks and brands are not responsible for ensuring that comments are answered or accurate.
Go to site