No country has it all when it comes to gender equality, but some places are better than others to be a woman.
Bangladesh is not one of them, as it ranked 142nd in the latest global Women, Peace and Security Index (WPS Index) published on Tuesday.
Last year, the country was in the 127th position out of 152 countries.
The Georgetown Institute for Women, Peace and Security, in partnership with the Peace Research Institute of Oslo, launched the second edition of the global WPS Index.
"There are important areas of progress. It's not all doom and gloom," said Jeni Klugman, managing director of the Georgetown Institute and lead author of the index.
In Bangladesh, women's employment recorded the largest increase since 2017 and rose by almost a third over the last two decades, to 38 percent in 2019, which is 4 percentage points higher than the 2017 index.
This is also higher than the South Asian average in women's employment, which is 29 percent.
For Bangladeshi women, the manufacturing sector became more important, while employment in the agricultural sector shrank. Now 85 percent of women work in the informal sector.
The report says cellphone usage also increased women's online connectivity – about 89 percent of Bangladeshi women who access the internet do so using cellphones.
With close to 90 percent of men owning a cellphone, the cellphone gender gap stands at 16 percentage points.
Bangladesh scored higher in justice for son bias, community safety and organized violence indicators.
Moderate decline in legal discrimination
Bangladesh scored poorly in job opportunities, legal discrimination and intimate partner violence. From 2000 to 2017, 27 percent women experienced violence in the hands of their intimate partners.
Since 2017, the global average for legal discrimination improved slightly. Legal discrimination declined in 118 countries, but rose in 34 and stalled in 20.
Legal equality also deteriorated in 34 countries. In Bangladesh, for example, child marriage had been illegal until a 2017 law declared it permissible if it was in the "best interest" of the child.
The report also gives examples of discriminatory norms, nearly 75 percent of men in Pakistan believe it's unacceptable for women to have a paid job. Disapproval exceeds 50 percent in Bangladesh, Yemen, Iraq, Libya, and Afghanistan.
Legal discrimination means about 2.7 billion women globally are restricted from working in the same jobs as men, said the report.
Nepal, ranking at 84th position, got the best score among the neighbouring countries.
Sri Lanka, Maldives and Bhutan ranked 107th, 111th and 118th respectively.
India ranked 133rd, Pakistan ranked 164th while Afghanistan ranked 166th.
While Norway and Switzerland are the best countries to be a woman in, Yemen and Afghanistan ranked the worst, said the report.
South Sudan, Iraq, Democratic Republic of the Congo, Central African Republic, Mali and Libya.
The index is made by collecting data from 167 countries on women's comprehensive wellbeing, and it analyzes trends in gender equality. It seeks to understand the global differences by measuring women's inclusion in society, sense of security, and exposure to discrimination – captured and quantified through 11 indicators.