This article originally appeared on VICE Asia
If you’re a woman living in Singapore or New Zealand, then you’re better off than other women in the region.
The two countries are tied as the least dangerous places for women to live, as of 2019. According to a study carried out by financial firm ValueChampion, these two places are the safest for a number of reasons, such as quality of healthcare and access to contraception and family planning.
Equal opportunity for women, in comparison to men, also contributes to the overall safety rank. Singapore and New Zealand’s lack of “internal and international conflicts” is an additional indicator of their respective safeties. The study turned to the Global Peace Index and Human Development Index for much of this data.
The expansive study looked at publicly available data, as well as a range of criteria for their analysis. Factors such as crime rates, health indicators, and growth potential were examined.
Out of the fourteen countries in question, India ranks last, with the lowest healthcare, safety and opportunity ranks for women. Other countries ranking towards the bottom include the Philippines and Indonesia.
Indonesian data shows that 33% of women between the ages of 15 and 64 experiencing some sort of violence, such as sexual assault. This is similar in the Philippines, where women face forms of discrimination despite high mortality and literacy rates. The study does note that economic factors are crucial, given that the Philippines, Indonesia and India are all considered developing countries.
Though New Zealand shares Singapore’s reputation as being largely safe for women, there are aspects of women’s safety which are being challenged. New Zealand reportedly has a female murder rate that is nearly three times that of Singapore’s, particularly for Maori women. Rape victims face a lack of abortion rights which is an additional cause of concern.
In Singapore, the opportunities for growth mainly arise when it comes to sexual harassment. The number of cases in this regard increased by 12% between 2017 and 2018. Additionally, the marital rape immunity law caused concern. Singapore did not acknowledge marital rape up until 2007, according to the Straits Times. Now, however, Singapore is set to repeal this law.
When it comes to India, the number of challenges to overcome are far more harrowing. For instance, a state minister recently questioned whether a married woman can be raped at all. Women still face countless cases of sexual exploitation and violence.
The United Nations also reports that the country is the most dangerous place for female children.
If these countries are to shift their focus onto healthcare and increased opportunity for females, there is space for a woman’s quality of life to drastically improve. Identifying and preventing crimes such as marital rape and sexual harassment is another key to elevating a country’s safety and equality for women.
Following Singapore and New Zealand are Australia, Japan, Taiwan, Hong Kong, South Korea, Vietnam, Thailand, Malaysia, China, Philippines, Indonesia, and India.