Poll: Afghanistan Most Dangerous Country for Women

Posted June 15th, 2011 at 2:40 pm (UTC-5)
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A new poll finds that Afghanistan is the most dangerous country in the world for women.

The Thomas Reuters Foundation commissioned more than 200 experts who said Afghanistan tops the list due to the country's high maternal mortality rates, lack of health care access and extreme poverty.

According to the United Nations, Afghan women have a one in 11 chance of dying in childbirth. The U.N. Children's Fund also estimates that nearly 90 percent of Afghan women are illiterate and face forced marriages.

One expert surveyed by the Thomas Reuters Foundation said that Afghan women are often afraid to speak out or take on public roles that challenge ingrained gender stereotypes. Those who do are often intimidated or killed.

The poll ranked the Democratic Republic of Congo as the second most dangerous country in the world for women due to extremely high levels of rape and other sexual violence.

Pakistan was third on the list, largely because of cultural, tribal and religious practices harmful to women. These include acid attacks, child and forced marriage, and punishment or retribution by stoning or other physical abuse.

The experts ranked India the fourth most dangerous country for women due to female feticide, infanticide and human trafficking.

Somalia was ranked fifth because of high maternal mortality, rape and female genital mutilation, along with limited access to education, healthcare and economic resources.