Afghanistan has the dubious distinction of being named the world's most dangerous country for women by an international poll of 213 gender experts from five continents.
According to a survey conducted by TrustLaw, a legal news service run by the Thomson-Reuters Foundation, Afghanistan took the top spot in light of the nation's dismal healthcare, brutal poverty and high levels of violence against women. "Ongoing conflict, Nato airstrikes and cultural practices combined make Afghanistan a very dangerous place for women," Antonella Notari, head of Women Change Makers, a group that supports women social entrepreneurs around the world, told the BBC. "In addition, women who do attempt to speak out or take on public roles that challenge ingrained gender stereotypes of what is acceptable for women to do or not, such as working as policewomen or news broadcasters, are often intimidated or killed," she added.
Still, some authorities were surprised by the poll's findings -- among them Maryan Qasim, exiled women's minister of Somalia, which came in fifth. "If I was asked where is the most dangerous place to be a woman, I would have said with certainty Somalia," she is quoted by Reuters as saying, before going on to describe her nation as "living hell" for women.
View the world's most dangerous countries for women, including facts about each nation as reported by TrustLaw, below:
An estimated 87 percent of Afghan women are illiterate. Source: Thomson Reuters Foundation Services
An estimated 1,152 women are raped in the Democratic Republic of Congo each day. Source: Thomson Reuters Foundation Services
Women earn a staggering 82 percent less than men. Source: Thomson Reuters Foundation Services
An estimated 44.5 percent of Indian women are married before the age of 18. Source: Thomson Reuters Foundation Services
In Somalia, 95 percent of women face genital mutilation between the ages of 4 and 11. Source: Thomson Reuters Foundation Services