On March 5, a Singapore-based insurance company called ValueChampion published a study on the most dangerous countries for women in the Asia Pacific region.
Out of the 14 countries on the list, India, Indonesia, and the Philippines are considered the least safe for women, with India having the lowest scores.
The study looked into laws protecting women’s safety (against marital rape, sexual harassment, and domestic violence), access to healthcare (which includes having family planning choices and sex education), and opportunities for women (employment, literacy rate, and wage gap). It then compared those to indices like the United Nations Human Development Index and the Global Peace Index.
According to the researchers, even if the bottom three countries have governments intervening to improve the quality of life for women, improvement does not always follow “if [efforts] are in contrast to religious or cultural values.”
“Deeply entrenched patriarchal attitudes either due to cultural or religious beliefs led to women fearing for their well-being more often than in other countries on our list," writes Anastassia Evlanova, a research analyst at ValueChampion.
Analyzing the case of the Philippines, Evlanova states, “Despite women going to school for longer than men and having better literacy rates, there are still high levels of violent crime. This shows us that while Filipino governmental structures exist to help women achieve quality of life, violence against women is still a problem on the individual level.”
As it is in India, reported cases in our country aren’t resolved properly.
Furthermore, as a developing country, healthcare—especially a high-quality one—isn’t a priority.
“This leads to women not only facing [an] increased risk of crime at the hands of their spouses or discrimination in the academic or employment fields, but also an increased risk of dying from health-related reasons.”
Singapore and New Zealand top the list (a tie) for being the safest for women, as they have “impressive” healthcare, safety, and opportunity indicators. They are followed by Australia and Japan.
The study cautions that reality may paint a different picture in Japan. “Sexual harassment is severely underreported due to women feeling shame or self-blame.”