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These are the best countries for gender equality in 2017


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Photo: Stocksy/Aila Images

Despite gender equality being a major problem in the US, there is some good news: People are no longer staying silent about the problem.

The World Economic Forum recently published its annual report that spells out how well 144 countries are doing with regard to closing the gender gap. The US actually fell four places since last year, from 45th to 49th (AKA still above average but not very impressive). While progress is being made in education, economic opportunity, and health, the country isn’t really blazing trails regarding women in public office. (Come back, Hillary!)

“Gender equality is both a moral and economic imperative. Some countries understand this, and they are now seeing dividends from the proactive measures they have taken to address their gender gaps.” —Saadia Zahidi, World Economic Forum

There are several countries that are veritable gender-equality heavens: Iceland topped the list for the ninth year in a row, with nearly 88 percent of its gap already closed (it reportedly aims to close it completely by 2022). Following Iceland on the list is Norway, Finland, Rwanda, Sweden, Nicaragua, Slovenia, Ireland, New Zealand, and the Philippines.

Unfortunately, despite strides being made around the globe, this is the first year since 2006 (when the reporting began) that the gender gap has widened across the health, education, politics, and workplace sectors. That means last year’s prediction of the overall gap closing in 83 years is now pushed back to 100.

“In 2017, we should not be seeing progress toward gender parity shift into reverse,” Saadia Zahidi, head of education, gender, and work at the World Economic Forum, said in the press release. “Gender equality is both a moral and economic imperative. Some countries understand this, and they are now seeing dividends from the proactive measures they have taken to address their gender gaps.”

While many improvements still need to be made, and it seems like a really long time before the gap will be closed for good, just know this: The work you do now will make the world a better place for your descendants, no matter their gender.

This is the best state for gender equality. Also, check out why Emma Watson is a great role model—her fight for gender equality, included.