Finland fared well against other developed countries in several of the metrics analysed in the annual report, including the share of women in the parliament (46%), the share of women who use a mobile phone (100%) and the share of women who have access to an individual or joint bank account or mobile payment system (99.6%).
The country stood out favourably also in terms of the mean years of schooling and absence of legal discrimination against women.
Its 52.7-per cent employment rate for women aged 25 and older, though, was neither the lowest nor the highest among developed countries, falling roughly in the middle of the 37.1-per cent rate in Greece and the 64.2-per cent rate in Iceland. The employment of women in the country, the report suggests, is not hampered by discriminatory norms, with only one per cent of men saying it is unacceptable for women in their family to have a paid job outside the home.
The share of women who feel safe walking alone at night in their city or neighbourhood has risen by more than 11 percentage points to 80.9 in Finland since 2017, according to WPS Index. The country, however, ranked lowest in the group of 26 developed countries in intimate partner violence
Nordic and Scandinavian countries were well represented at the top of the ranking. Norway secured the top spot, whereas Iceland edged out Denmark for the third place and Sweden came in seventh also behind Luxembourg (5th) and Switzerland (6th).
WPS Index relies on recognised data sources to gauge the inclusion, justice and security of women in 170 countries around the world. The data on financial inclusion, for example, is from the World Bank and that on employment from the International Labour Organization (ILO).
Jeni Klugman, managing director of the Georgetown Institute for Women, Peace and Security, revealed that the third iteration of the index found that progress for women has slowed down and disparities in their status widened during the coronavirus pandemic.
“[The pandemic] has widened gender gaps in paid employment and care burdens, and heightened risks of intimate partner violence,” she told.
“The massive challenges created by the pandemic mean that intersectional analysis and policy making are more important than ever as governments and communities strive to build back better,” argued Klugman.