Where is the healthiest place in the world to be a woman?

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Ashley Kannan | Middle School Teacher | (Level 3) Distinguished Educator

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I think that we can consider, for a moment, that nations that place public primacy on women and women's issues can be areas where women's health can be seen as being substantiated.  For example, the mental strain and anguish from not being paid as much as men for equal work or for having to tend to family and work issues in lacking adequate family leave time can have damaging impacts on women's health.  It is here where I think that the Scandinavian countries have the best qualifications for the healthiest place in the world to be a woman.  On average, women earn 80% of what men make, some of the best data on minimizing the gender gap in pay.  In addition to this, the Scandinavian nations have done a better job in embedding issues important to women and helping with their own conception of health in terms of being acknowledged:

The Scandinavian family support systems include parental leave programmes, day care, public allowances for children and housing, medical and dental care, and support for lone parents.

Women's education in the Scandinavian counties is another element where women's interests are represented in the healthiest of ways, as 60% of all women are high school and college graduates.  These are arenas where women's interests are valued, reflecting how overall health can be seen as better than in nations that do not value such elements.  The fact that these nations make it a primary goal to account for women's voices can be seen as a way to help ensure that women's health is addressed in terms of minimizing the obstacles to a healthy life:

Scandinavian countries that have made gender equality an explicit goal and implemented policies such as universal child care and paid family leaves almost always land on the top of the list.  The United States lags far behind.

Though different metrics can be used and different standards for what defines "health" can be evident, I think that the Scandinavian countries are where it proves to be the healthiest place to be a woman.

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