Top 10 Most Dangerous Countries For Women
Women. Photo: KnowInsiders

Across the world, women suffer discrimination and violence of all kinds, including rape, sexual violence, unemployment, and lack of access to leadership opportunities. Thus, women are more vulnerable to discrimination, gender inequality, and stereotypes than men.

According to the United Nations, about 87,000 women were murdered globally by people closest to them, amounting to an average of six women killed per hour.

The List of 10 Most Dangerous Countries For Women

1. Yemen - 0.351

2. Afghanistan - 0.373

3. Syria - 0.416

4. Pakistan - 0.460

5. South Sudan - 0.479

6. Iraq - 0.490

7. The Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC) - 0.512

8. The Central African Republic (CAR) - 0.513

9. Mali - 0.539

10. Libya -0.546

*Note: The list of the riskiest countries for women according to the Women, Peace, and Security Index (2019/2020).


Which are the 10 Most Dangerous Countries For Women?

1. Yemen

Photo: iKNOW Politics
Photo: iKNOW Politics

As per the Index, Yemen is the most dangerous country for women. The Middle Eastern nation is a patriarchal society that subjects women to all forms of discrimination, including negative stereotypes, economic inequality, and discriminatory legal systems. As of 2017, women in Yemen do not hold most of the cultural, social, and economic rights. They are not allowed to exercise full civil and political rights.

Women are also the victim of discriminatory laws. For instance, a woman is entitled to half of the amount a man would be compensated as blood money. Also, the law exposes “little girls” to early marriage, prohibits women from leaving their homes without the husband’s permission, and allows men to have sex with their wives whenever they please, without giving the same right to the wives. Because of early marriages and other forms of discrimination, girls are less likely to go to school than boys. The current crisis in the country has further worsened the condition of women of Yemen.

2. Afghanistan

Top 10 Most Dangerous Countries For Women
Photo: InStyle

Afghanistan is one of the most dangerous countries for women 20 years after the Taliban’s overthrow. The most recent news about the Taliban taking over Kabul is awful to the millions of women in the country. Under the Taliban’s regime, education for girls and women was outlawed. Although women and girls gained some freedom under the current regime, the country remains unsafe for them. Most women experience most forms of abuse, with 90% of the women experiencing domestic violence (WHO 2015 report).

Domestic violence ranges from murder, physical, psychological, and verbal abuse. Freedom of movement is limited for girls under their fathers’ authority and women under their husbands. Although women are employed at every level in the country, they account for less than 20% of the labor force, with most of them paid less than the men doing the same job. Other forms of discrimination against women include forced and arranged marriages and prohibition from marrying a foreign non-Muslim.

3. Syria

Photo: Al Jazeera
Photo: Al Jazeera

Syria was named as the third most dangerous country for women after seven years of civil war which has decimated services across the country and killed about 510,000 people. Some 5.5 million Syrians are living as refugees in nearby countries and another 6.1 million of the 18 million population are still in Syria but forced to flee their homes.

Respondents ranked Syria as the second most dangerous country for women in terms of access to healthcare and regards non-sexual violence which includes conflict-related violence as well as domestic abuse. Syria was a joint third with the United States with regards to the risks women faced of sexual violence and harassment and named seventh worst for lack of access to economic resources.

4. Pakistan

Photo: Báo Thanh Niên
Photo: Báo Thanh Niên

Women in Pakistan face risks from traditional, religious, and cultural practices and domestic abuse and discrimination. Violence against women includes sexual violence and physical abuse, mostly by intimate partners. Over 70% of the women in Pakistan suffer at least one form of domestic violence, with over 5,000 dying annually from such violence. In 2017, the country recorded 746 honor killings.

Non-Muslim girls are often kidnapped, abused, forced to become Muslims, and then married off. Of the South Asian countries, Pakistani women are the most discriminated against and have the least access to mobile phones. In Pakistan, only 7% of women have bank accounts compared to 35% of men.

5. South Sudan

Photo: Doctors Without Borders
Photo: Doctors Without Borders

South Sudan is Africa’s most dangerous country for women, with the conflict situation exposing the female gender to all forms of evil. The war has displaced millions of South Sudanese, mainly women and children, exposing them to famine and other dangers. The fragile newest nation in Africa has the world's highest prevalence of intimate violence at 47%.

Girls and women are subjected to high levels of violence and have limited means of addressing the crimes against them. The violence against women has become even more pronounced amidst the ongoing civil war, with soldiers using torture and sexual violence as their strategy. In South Sudan, rape is used as a weapon of war. Several women have been kidnapped, raped, and forced into slavery. Besides violence, women have limited access to financial and economic resources and are rarely included in leadership positions.

6. Iraq

Top 10 Most Dangerous Countries For Women
Photo: Women for Women International

Although the law states that only marriage is for adults aged 18 and above, the same law allows girls aged 15 to be married as long as the judge authorizes the marriage. The family law also discriminates against women concerning child custody, divorce, and inheritance. A woman’s testimony in a court of law is worth half of a man’s testimony in some cases. According to 2014 Human Rights Watch, thousands of women have been jailed in Iraq without charges. Honor killing is also a serious threat to women in Iraq, with over 6,000 women forced to commit suicide or killed in Iraq Kurdistan in 2007.

Although the Iraqi constitution outlaws all forms of abuse and violence against any gender, the penal code discriminates against women by allowing husbands to punish their wives. The penal code also exempts those who commit sexual assault from persecution if they marry the victim. The victims are often discouraged from reporting sexual violence and assault to the authority to avoid “bringing shame” to their families. Instead, they are encouraged to seek an alternative resolution mechanism, which is often biased.

7. The Democratic Republic of Congo


The United Nations has warned that millions of people face hellish living conditions in DRC after years of factional bloodshed and lawlessness. About 4.3 million people have been displaced amid endemic violence, including machete attacks and gang rape, with NGOs saying this year that women and children were being exposed to the “worst sexual abuse ever”.

The vast Central African country ranked as the second most dangerous country for women as regards sexual violence. It ranked between seventh and ninth in four other questions including non-sexual violence, access to healthcare, economic resources and cultural and traditional threats.

8. The Central African Republic

Photo: Worldatlas
Photo: Worldatlas

The CAR has suffered decades of violence, with clashes mainly between the government and the armed non-state group. The conflict has not only disrupted government operations but also affected millions of women in the country. Women and children have been forced to flee their homes and seek shelter in the IDP camps and neighboring countries. Women’s greatest fear in the CAR is sexual violence. The armed groups around the country and in settlement camps often take advantage of women and girls by sexually assaulting them.

Of the 9,200 gender-based violence reported in 2020, 24% was sexual violence, committed mainly by the armed groups and the rest by the people known to the victims. The military and the armed groups sometimes torture women to reveal the whereabouts of their husbands or sons.

9. Mali

Photo: Worldatlas
Photo: Worldatlas

Although violence against women is rampant in Mali, the vice is often silenced by religious discourse and social norms. One in two women in Mali aged 15-40 years has suffered sexual or physical violence, with 79% of women considering violence against women normal. Rarely do women report such violence against them, and if they do report, the community pressures them to withdraw the case before conviction.

Although illegal, forced marriage often takes place in Mali, with young girls pressured into such marriages. About 20% of girls below the age of 15 have been forced into early marriages. Besides violence, most women are likely to encounter harmful traditional practices like FGM, with over 90% of the women undergoing the practice.

10. Libya

Top 10 Most Dangerous Countries For Women
Photo: Channel 4

Libya has a history of conflict and has struggled to end violent conflicts close to a decade after Gaddafi’s ouster. As a result, women have lost gains made in political and women’s rights empowerment. The conflict has displaced tens of thousands of people, of which most are women and children. The women in settlement camps face several risks, including lack of privacy, safety, and harassment from the authorities and militia groups.

The conflict has also placed women at risk of sexual harassment and violence, forced prostitution, and gender-based violence. Besides settlement camps, GBV and sexual violence are widespread throughout Libya, of which most of such acts of violence go unreported. Women are abducted from the streets or homes and subjected to rape and other forms of sexual violence. During conflicts, rape is used as a weapon of war to terrorize, punish, and warn the rival group.

On the opposite end, the following ten countries are the safest for women in 2021, according to worldpopulationreview:

1. Spain

2. Singapore

3. Ireland

4. Austria

5. Switzerland

6. Norway

7. Portugal

8. Croatia

9. Canada

10. Poland

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