Money | 01.25.2022

Where is the Best Place for a Single Woman to Live Worldwide?

best place for a single woman to live in the world header featuring a woman holding the Swedish flag.

By Paula Bennett

Especially with retirement ahead, the right place to call home matters! 

Have you suffered from wanderlust, considered for a new life, new career, or opportunity? Are you an empty nester who has dreamed about moving to Paris?

Many Americans have thought about living abroad permanently to pursue a happier healthier life, with no medical care costs, lower taxes, and living expenses. Women, in particular, are constantly re-evaluating where they might want to live for reasons of safety, security, happiness, and financial stability. As you approach retirement, relocation can open up a new life (plus it’s more fun to think about than your will, right?)

Where in the world are women the happiest, safe, financially secure?

After looking at the news recently, some might believe it’s not in the US. 

Is it surprising to you that according to the Georgetown Institute for Women, Peace, and Security in their Women’s Peace and Security Index for 2021/2022, the United States ranks 18th? So, where is the best place for a single woman to live in the world? 

In its best countries rankings, US News and World Reports surveyed The Best Countries and 8,048 women who filled out surveys for the 2021 Best Countries for Women rankings. Their survey considered issues such as safety, income, and gender equality. Where are the best places to live? The Scandinavian countries top the list.  

Where is the Best Place for a Single Woman to Live in the World?

We can’t single out just one, but here are the top contenders. 

Many of these countries have specific regulations in place to provide for women surrounding childbirth and childcare. If you’re preparing for retirement, these may not be applicable benefits, but we find these types of offerings are reflective of a country more aware and supportive of the general climate of inequality across the gender spectrum. 

Sweden

Consistently year after year, Sweden is always the top country for women because of its quality of life, gender equality, and position on human rights. They are always at the forefront of child care for women and family leave. Women in Sweden represent almost 50% of both the parliament and the government’s cabinet. 

Women are free to keep their surname after marriage, and they have the same opportunities as men in all walks of life. Sweden provides free education up until college or university level. Like our next location, Denmark, the Swedish government subsidizes most post-secondary educational costs including tuition fees. 

Denmark

Just like Sweden right next door, Denmark gets high rankings for gender equality and human rights. In addition, Denmark has an earnings-related daycare system and flexible parental leave policies.

Netherlands

Similar to other Northern European states, women have various freedoms here regarding their healthcare and generous maternity benefits. 

More women than men received post-secondary degrees. As a consequence, Denmark has more women than men entering the workforce.

As a result of this, there is more equity in the workplace and salaries compared to other western countries. Also, it has one of the lowest rates of domestic violence and sexual harassment in Europe.

If you live in this country, and you’re a new mom you can get a maternity nurse. 

Finland 

This Northern landlocked country was one of the first European countries to offer unrestricted rights to women to vote. This country offers universal healthcare, free medical care and free, higher education. Finland also offers an extensive public health care system for mothers and children. 

However, they offer less paid maternity leave, three months with an additional month off if you’re having another baby within six years of your first child’s birth. If you have had a baby in this country since 1938 you receive the baby box. It’s a box of essential supplies to a new parent. 

Norway

Norway is ranked the highest in gender equality out of almost all countries!

This country has a higher than average GDP than other countries as well as a high literacy rate. According to the World Economic Forum’s Global Gender Gap Report, Norway ranks as the number one country for women. It does so by assessing how well resources and opportunities are divided among male and female populations.

Plus, Norwegian women experience more paid maternity leave than anywhere else on Earth – 49 weeks parental leave at 100% salary, shared between parents any way they choose & more great policies too! 12 months – or 14 months’ maternity leave with full pay plus 16 weeks of 35 weeks of maternity leave at full pay for 45 weeks at 80% pay for the primary caregiver and 35 weeks at 100% pay for both parents

Canada 

Canada, home of Prime Minister Justin Trudeau, a self-declared feminist and son of a single mother, is becoming one of the most popular places for Americans to move to when they retire due to its health care system, good weather, free higher education which attracts many young people too. 

Healthcare is important especially for seniors who want good medical coverage once retired and Canada provides it all with ease including medications. Canada it’s a country with very little crime and it is proud of its record on diversity championing the rights of women.

Australia

Another great place for many retirees is Australia because of the outstanding inexpensive health care system. People can easily get on Medicare and see a doctor even if using private insurance. The weather is wonderful even when it rains. Australian resident in treatment for cancer. Additionally, Australians pride themselves on their fair justice system.

Switzerland 

Always the country that remains neutral, this peaceful country very little crime has almost no come violence or crime. Switzerland also ranks among the world’s happiest countries. Citizens focus healthy outdoor lifestyle including hiking, biking, and skiing.  

New Zealand

In 2017, this country elected the youngest female leader ever crime Minister Jacinda Arden. Unlike the United States, women have held major political positions, Prime Minister, governor-general, speaker of the house Attorney General and Chief Justice. 

New Zealand is considered a very peaceful country and safe. They experience almost no crime and their maternity leave is ten weeks, eight of those weeks are at full pay and two weeks at half pay with an option to extend an additional 26 weeks.

In 1972, the Equal Pay Act outlawed any sex discrimination in terms and conditions for employment. Women who want to retire here must receive 164 weeks of salary and employment benefits. They can retire at age 65 and expect to live until they are 83, on average. 

Germany

Angela Merkel has run the show in this country for many years. Although it receives lower scores on income quality there are more women than men in the German parliament. Germany is a very safe country to live in with low crime rates, good healthcare, and their maternity leave benefits consist of 14 weeks that can start one week before birth so one can prepare ahead of time. 

Belgium

Belgium has shown that women are capable of taking on important roles in society, with at least two female Prime Ministers to date. Belgium also has a healthy economy which allows females to have stable job opportunities. Many famous businesspeople were born in Belgium including the inventor of the Sharpie Highlighter and Barbie. We love to see it! 

Austria

Feminism was born in this country, and it values equal opportunities for all genders. 

This high-income country is a popular destination for expatriates and women can find plenty of opportunities to work. It’s a great place if you want to raise a family too with lots of childcare options available. 

Ireland

Formerly considered a current conservative country, they recently gave women the right to abortion, and women’s rights are changing in this country. Women who want to retire will receive significant pensions. 

The United Kingdom

Women typically get paid less than men but in recent years legislation has tried to change that. Women are guaranteed six weeks maternity leave with 37 weeks at half pay. They also have passed laws requiring all company boards to consist of 40% women by 2020. If these companies do not comply, they will have to “explain.”

France 

France is a country where individual rights are very important. There is no gender pay gap in France due to The Equal Rights And Opportunity Act. 

Women receive 16 weeks of maternity leave. Full-time or part-time mothers can receive an allowance for 36 months after the birth of the child till the age of three years old. France provides free education from kindergarten to university. 

Luxembourg 

In 1919, women got the right to vote in the wealthiest country in the European Union. 

In Luxembourg, a country known for longer life expectancies, a woman can expect to live longer than almost any European country. More time alive is more time to enjoy all the finer things in life, right? 

Iceland 

Iceland gives gender equality preschool lessons. There are multiple work laws in place to protect women. No gender discriminatory is allowed in advertising. This is one of the first countries to ban strip clubs. 

Portugal 

Portugal has a required six months maternity leave at 100% of wages. The country follows EU directives for equal rights and opportunities, including paid maternity leave periods. Portugal also offers job security during pregnancy. Prostitution is legal here but measures are in place to prevent violence against women. 

Where NOT to Live as a Single Woman in the World

With these countries, you might want to do a little more research before deciding to live there. These are some of the worst countries to live in if you are a woman, according to relevant survey results. 

If you live here and love it, we’re not going to disagree! In fact, we’d love to hear your opinions. Please leave a comment at the end of the article. 

Italy

Although this is considered one of the greatest countries for fashion, food, and wine Italy is not easy for women. Luckily, in 1975, husbands lost the right to be the dominant person in marriage, but there are persisting inequalities. 

Women who were surveyed found career prospects, equal pay, and job security were pretty low. Many believe income equality is an issue in this country. 

United States

While many are happy in the US, we have to be honest about comparing ourselves to the rest of the world. 

Women in the US are still looking for a woman to be elected President and have more significant representation among our political representatives. Generally have fewer economic resources than men. Despite having more opportunities in social and educational aspects, women continue to be discriminated against and face challenges that may hinder their ability to the same level of success as their male counterparts. Women hold only 19.3% of corporate boards seats. Many are hoping we can catch up with our European counterparts in the coming years. 

Singapore

Here’s one fact to introduce you to Singapore: women are more likely to live in poverty, compared to men. 

Single female seniors make up 30 percent of the elderly population but only control 1.3% of total household income and 1.1 % of total financial assets within households. On average, women receive lower incomes than their male counterparts because they do not command higher wages or salaries on average. 

Spain

In Spain, men retire earlier than women. That simply seems unfair! 

Also, in June 2013 the Madrid government passed a law stating that companies can ask for higher salaries for job applicants if they are male rather than female. 

Japan

It is not a secret that gender inequality exists in Japan. 

In surveys, Japan has high scores in gender inequality, which means women can expect to receive lower salaries than men for doing the same job. This reduces their ability to save money and makes them more likely to rely on social security when they retire. 

After it happened recently, no one can forget the resignation of Yoshiro Mori has to resign as the president of the Tokyo Olympic organizing committee following sexist comments implying women talk too much. 

This is by no means an exhaustive look at women’s rights or issues on a global scale, rather a bite-sized introduction of the comparisons between countries. If you’re thinking of re-locating around retirement, we suggest deeply researching your potential countries for their laws and regulations for women. Consider what will affect you personally. 

Before you move, we suggest a long-term visit, too to experience the location yourself and feel how it may be to live there. 

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