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The Best European Countries for Women to Work

The Best European Counties for Women to Work

On International Women’s Day (March 8), issues such as gender discrimination at work rise to the forefront and many women find themselves contemplating their professional trajectories or even reconsidering their career paths. 

While relocating for work presents itself as a potential avenue, selecting the right country to propel one’s career forward can pose a challenge. Some nations offer abundant career prospects, while others may fail to ignite inspiration among women. 

With this in mind, Digital PR company Reboot Online set out to uncover the best destinations in Europe for women looking to pursue a career abroad. This was achieved by creating a points-based index system which analysed the number of women in leadership positions, female employment, the Gender Gap Index and maternity policies in each country.

The results:

RankCountryLeadershipWomen In WorkGender Gap IndexMaternity LeaveEquality Score (/10)
2023 (/10)5 Year  Growth (/10)2023 (/10)5 Year  Growth (/10)Gender  Gap (/10)Score (/10)

The UK is sixth with robust levels of female leadership

The United Kingdom places sixth with a total gender equality score of 5.78/10. The UK stands out with the highest levels of female representation in leadership positions in Europe, including CEOs, executives, non-executives, presidents, and board members within its largest listed companies (7.20/10). As well as this, the UK has the highest five-year surge in this category (8.33/10), underscoring significant and continued progress in elevating the representation of women across leadership roles. This trend continues with a high level of women aged between 16-65 in employment (8.43/10). Despite this, the UK’s overall gender equality score is brought down by having the third-worst score in Europe for its maternity policies (3.35/10), with a 43% lower score than Spain (5.96/10). Statutory maternity pay in the UK is among the lowest in Europe, highlighting the further support needed for working mothers to achieve true gender parity in the workforce.

Norway is the best country in Europe for working women

Digital PR company Reboot Online can reveal that Norway is the best country in Europe for women to work, with a total gender equality score of 7.11 out of a possible 10. In 2023, Norway stood out for its impressive representation of female leaders, boasting a high percentage of women in leadership positions (7.14/10). Norway’s commitment to advancing gender diversity in leadership roles is evident through its remarkable five-year growth score of 6.03/10. In addition to its strides in workplace leadership equality, Norway scores highly in the Gender Gap Index (8.80/10). With the third highest score in the top ten for its maternity policies (5.88/10), working women in Norway also benefit from a high duration of minimum maternity leave and the percentage of income paid during that leave.

Iceland stands out with the highest Gender Gap Index score globally

Iceland ranks second in the top European countries for women to work, with a total gender equality score of 6.75/10. Iceland leads globally with the highest Gender Gap Index score of all countries analysed (10/10), ranking first for the 14th consecutive year, demonstrating a remarkable achievement in closing 91.2% of the gender gap. As well as this, Iceland ranks first in the world for Political Empowerment, due to being one of just two countries where women have held the highest political position for a higher number of years than men. Iceland also boasts a commendable score for Economic Participation and Opportunity, ranking 14th in the world, with the third-highest score for women in leadership positions in 2023 (6.53/10). On top of its progress in gender equality, Iceland has the highest score of all countries analysed for the percentage of women aged 16-65 in employment (10/10).

France places tenth in Europe among the top countries for women to work

In tenth place is France, with a total gender equality score of 5.56/10. Women are valued in leadership positions in the country, evident in its robust score of 6.31/10 in 2023. France demonstrates a commendable five-year growth trajectory, with a score of 6.41/10 for female representation in various leadership positions. France exhibits high female employment rates, reaching 6.97/10 in 2023, coupled with a five-year growth score of 3.46/10. These figures indicate a sustained trend of increasing women’s participation in the workforce over time. Women in France benefit from a minimum of 16 weeks of parental leave, as well as an extra two weeks of leave before birth and up to four additional weeks after birth for complicated pregnancies, contributing to a score of 5.67/10 for maternity policies.

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