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World's most dangerous places for women

Jun 17, 2011

The International Danger Poll from Thomson Reuters Foundation lists the world's most dangerous countries for women. Afghanistan tops the poll, while Pakistan and India follow close with third and fourth positions respectively.

International Danger Poll


From rape and domestic violence to lack of healthcare and education, millions of women experience daily peril, but nowhere more than in the five countries a TrustLaw Women expert poll identifies as the world's most dangerous countries to be female in 2011: Afghanistan, Democratic Republic of Congo, Pakistan, India and Somalia.

TrustLaw Women asked 213 gender experts from five continents to rank countries by overall perceptions as well as by six key risks: sexual violence; non-sexual violence; cultural or religious factors; discrimination and lack of access to resources; and trafficking.

South Asia may boast a number of women leaders and be home to cultures that revere motherhood and worship female deities, but many women live with the threat of appalling violence and without many basic rights.

From forced marriages in Afghanistan and "honour killings" in Pakistan to foeticide in India and trafficking in Nepal, South Asian women face a barrage of dangers, experts say, but add growing awareness, better laws and economic empowerment are bringing a slow change in attitudes.

"It is true that South Asians don't, in general, value their daughters, which for instance is apparent in the dwindling gender ratio in India," said Meenakshi Ganguly, Human Rights Watch's (HRW) South Asia director.

"Domestic violence is rampant and various forms of sexual assault often remain an untold horror that women endure. To a large part it is cultural, stemming from a feudal tradition where sons were the inheritors as well as caregivers in old age. But since then, it has become embedded in attitude, where women are simply considered inferior."

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