10 Worst Places in the World to Live If You’re a Woman

Violence, rape and little or no education is a fact of life for many women all over the globe. While the feminist movement took off in parts of the Western world, many women are still treated as second class citizens. Many endure violent daily events and manage to persevere and take care of their children in hopes of a better tomorrow.
  • Haiti. 75% of women in Haiti give birth at home. If that weren’t enough to deal with, AIDS is rampant and women are threatened by gangs of men whose only purpose is to hunt victims to rape. Many women have taken to the hills above Port au Prince just to stay safe as they try to work as street vendors. To make this trek, female street vendors usually end up spending a large portion of their profits to travel to safe territory to work. Girls as young as 11 and 12 years old turn to prostitution to help support their families since education for females in Haiti is non-existent in some areas. Nearly 50% of Haitian will be sexually assaulted in their lifetime.


  • Papau New Guinea. Here women only receive an education until the fifth grade and then enter the work force. Women are four times as likely to have HIV as men. It is nearly impossible for women in Papau New Guinea to achieve financial independence due to lack of education. While the legal age for a female to be married in the country is 16, in most rural villages menstruation will suffice for making a young girl fit for marriage. In 2004, the UN released a report that said 21% of girls between the ages of 15-19 are widowed, divorced or married. According to Amnesty International about 150 women per year are executed for accusation of practicing witchcraft.


  • Domestic Republic of Congo. Deemed one of the most dangerous places in the world for women to live, the Congo has years of civil unrest under its belt, making it a haven for violence and rape against women. Women were on the front lines of warfare for decades. Torture and rape were common tactics used on women. Even after the war, rape has reached dramatic proportions and puts women at high risk for HIV. Health centers provided by non-profit agencies are usually days away and the only way to get there is on foot. If traveling at night, women are at risk of being kidnaped and forced to serve as sex and domestic slaves Ages range from 4 to 80, resulting in 19% of the female population being infected with HIV.


  • Juarez. Juarez recently made headlines after the distress of the city inspired designers Laura and Kate Mulleavy of Rodarte. The sisters and designers traveled through Texas for inspiration and stumbled upon Juarez. While other cities and countries on this list are well-known for their violence against women, the happenings in Juarez seem to slip from the headlines. Since the early ‘90s, thousands of women have been murdered with dead bodies turning up on road sides or in vacant lots. Research done by authors, film makers and journalists have turned up links between local establishments, organized crime and local law enforcement. Within the first four days of January 2010, 37 women were murdered.


  • Darfur. While women in other areas of the Sudan have made great strides, Darfur has fallen by the wayside. Women walk miles each day to gather food and water for their children, regularly risking being kidnaped and enslaved. Husbands seldom protect all of their wives (which is common in Darfur) and usually stick to the elder wife, leaving the others to fend for themselves. At night, women in Darfur stick to safe huts that are hidden among the jungle. Areas like sanitation are improving, but there’s still a mass need for medical and legal services to give women help to create their own livelihoods.


  • Niger. Women are abused by their husbands in Niger and never prosecuted. This can cause some women to leave their homes and due to lack of education, these women usually turn to prostitution to make a living. Abuse is also common by fathers and brothers, as are rape and humiliation. When reaching out to the authorities, women are often blamed for the actions of men. Hospitals do treat injured women, but never record the reasons for the injury. Arranged marriages are common, so if a woman tells her parents of abuse in her own marriage, it is often seen as an insult towards the parents.


  • Mali Genital mutilation is the norm in Mali. In the eyes of the lawn, women in Mali are seen as equals, but in reality they take a backseat as citizens. Girls receive schooling until the age of 12, but in the school year of 2005-06, only 49% of girls attended primary school. Girls can legally marry at the age of 18, but marriage with the consent of a parent is legal at 15. These laws are not enforced and arranged marriages happen for girls as young as 9 years old. Many are forced to give birth at a young age, resulting in mass complications and often, death for the girl. While there are laws against rape, men are seldom convicted of the crime. Spousal rape is still legal.


  • Iraq. Iraq once held a high literacy rate for women. After the U.S. invasion, parents are afraid to send their young girls resulting in little education throughout the country. Kidnap and rape is common even for young girls, as well as adult women. Women who worked before the war now stay home for the same reason. Hunger is at an all-time high in this Arab country and overall, women’s rights have drastically decreased since 2003. Worst of all, Iraq’s backwards laws have caused oppression throughout the country, creating a population of women who are unaware of their rights. In Afghanistan, a woman dies every half hour due to complications during child birth.


  • Sierra Leone. In the Sierra Leone only 24% of women are literate. On average, women live to be 43 in this country and one in eight women die during childbirth. Just a few years after the end of civil warfare, women in the Sierra Leone struggle with violence and rape more than any other women in the world.. Women deal with rape in a major way, so much so that after becoming victims of rape, men in the villages will mock them. This often leads to the woman becoming undesired and left by her husband. The same goes for women who have children from rape. Some are even rejected by their family members. While legislation for women’s rights in Sierra Leone has been passed, it is seldom enforced and persecuting perpetrators is practically non-existent .


  • Nepal. In Nepal, women are married off and have children as early as 14 and 15 years old. This contributes to a large number of women dying in childbirth due to lack of proper medical care. Sex traffickers are rampant in Nepal and are often the answer for a girl who is not married by the time she’s 18 or so. Like other countries on our list of worst places in the world to live if you’re a woman, allegedly practicing witchcraft is enough to have women tormented in the streets. Women are labeled “boskis” for no concrete reason which means witch and face severe discrimination. Guerilla groups force women to participate due to civil war between Maoist and government rebels.


  • While the United Nations and non-profit agencies continue to battle women’s rights around the world, there are some areas where battling violence and looking over your shoulder as you attempt to gather food and drinkable water is a way of life.