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11 Countries With The Best Economic Opportunities For Women (PHOTOS)

The Huffington Post     First Posted: 09/28/10 12:08 PM ET   Updated: 05/25/11 06:50 PM ET

The United States is well behind other advanced economies in creating economic opportunities for women, according to a new ranking by theThe Economist's Intelligence Unit

America ranks fourteenth in the Economist's "women's equality index," a new ranking that uses 26 metrics to measure economic opportunity for women in 113 countries. Each metric in the ranking is grouped within one of five main categories -- labor policy and practice, access to finance, education and training, women's legal and social status or the general business environment.

The best economic opportunities for women, the index finds, are found in Scandinavia and the Nordic regions of Europe, where most countries boast advanced market economies and strong labor protections. African nations like Sudan, Chad and Ethiopia ranked near the bottom of the Economist's list.

In their analysis, the EIU focuses entirely on women's' employment in the formal sector -- jobs that usually have set hours and agreed levels of pay, which includes self-employed women. (Many nations have large employment bases in the "informal" economy, the report notes.) For a copy of the full report, click here (PDF) and see below for the 11 countries with the most favorable working conditions for women.

11. France
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Labour policy and practice: 74.6 (#16)*
Access to finance: 80.4 (#5)
Education and training: 79.0 (#22)
Women's legal and social status: 89.4 (#36)
General business environment: 78.3 (#9)

*[Category: Score (World Ranking)]
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