Historian and writer Dr. Amanda Foreman wrote, ""Whether you look to the past or the present, the inclusion of women is vital to a prosperous and peaceful society". The prosperity of a society can be measured by how that society values women. In matters involving maternity leave, domestic violence, equal pay, political representation, and sex equality in family law, where do women have it best?
1) Maternity Leave
The United States is the only industrialized nation that does not mandate paid maternity leave. The Family Medical Leave Act of 1993 guarantees women their jobs 12 weeks after giving birth, but does not mandate that women receive any salary — clearly a disincentive, if not complete obstacle, to taking advantage of maternity leave.
The U.K. offers women 280 days at 90 percent pay. Russia offers 140 days at 100 percent pay. This infographic provides a glimpse of pro-woman, pro-child countries with excellent maternity benefits.
Other parts of the world extend a gesture of gender equality of which American mothers likely have never dreamed. Beyond mandated, paid maternity leave, several countries, including Netherlands, Sweden, Indonesia, France, Brazil, Australia,U.K., Spain and Saudia Arabia offer paid paternity leave, as well.
2) Freedom from Domestic Violence
The World Health Organization defines “intimate partner violence” as “behavior by an intimate partner or ex-partner that causes physical, sexual or psychological harm, including physical aggression, sexual coercion, psychological abuse and controlling behaviors.”
North America has the lowest rate of domestic violence against women. Worldwide, one-third of women worldwide suffer from domestic abuse. The WHO Director-General Dr. Margaret Chan stated, “Violence against women is a global health problem of epidemic proportions.”
3) Equal Pay
Countries with the smallest gender wage gap, of 0 - 10 percent, include Slovenia, New Zealand, Spain, Belgium and Norway.