10 Safest Countries For Women To Live & Visit in 2024

Are you a woman looking to relocate abroad? Or simply narrowing down your next travel destination?

Here are the 10 safest countries for women:

  1. Norway
  2. Finland
  3. Iceland
  4. Denmark
  5. Luxembourg
  6. Switzerland
  7. Sweden
  8. Austria
  9. The United Kingdom
  10. The Netherlands

Read on to discover what exactly makes these the 10 safest countries for women.

Resources like the annual Women, Peace and Security Index provide useful data on women’s rights globally.

With my personal experience as a woman who has emigrated to eight countries and travelled to many more, I choose destinations with thriving cultural scenes, professional opportunities, and the chance for adventure – not simply those ranked the “safest” for women.

For example, three of my favorite cities are Mexico City, Istanbul, and New York City, none of them particularly famous for safety.

While no country is perfect, some score higher for women’s empowerment and gender equality. But I aim to focus on the positives each location offers, not just potential risks.

Whether you’re a digital nomad planning your next stop, or a long-term émigré in the making – this list is for you.

The 10 Safest Countries For Women in 2023

#1. Norway

For the past two years, Norway has ranked #1 on the annual Women, Peace and Security Index, which analyzes women’s equality, justice, and safety across 167 countries.

This high sense of security shapes women’s daily life in Norway in tangible ways.

In Norway, women can confidently walk city streets alone day or night without fear.

Public transit feels safe due to initiatives against harassment and abuse. Extensive healthcare services provide support for women’s needs.

Women also experience safety and respect within domestic partnerships – Norway’s strict domestic violence laws and cultural attitudes set a high standard for healthy relationships.

At school and work, women enjoy equal opportunities and strong protections against discrimination and gender-based violence.

While no society is perfect, the combination of progressive laws, social services, infrastructure, and cultural values enable Norwegian women to feel extremely safe as they go about daily life.

#2. Finland

Another Scandinavian country, Finland, comes in second place on the Women, Peace, and Security Index.

Finland has robust laws prohibiting domestic violence, sexual harassment, and discrimination against women.

The country also stands out for its low crime rates, universal healthcare, excellent public education, and modern infrastructure that enables freedom of movement for women.

Culturally, Finnish society places high value on gender equality and women’s autonomy.

Finland was the first country in Europe to grant women full political rights. Finland granted women the right to vote in 1906, even before achieving its independence in 1917.

This progressive move made Finland the first European country to give women full political participation and paved the way for ongoing leadership in women’s rights.

While no nation is perfect, Finland’s long-term commitment to women’s rights has created an environment where women can safely navigate daily life in their homes, jobs, communities, and public spaces without fear.

This effective blend of progressive policies, social support systems, and respect for women as equals makes Finland a global leader in providing day-to-day safety for women – within a free and just society.

#3. Iceland

Like its Nordic neighbors, Iceland is frequently ranked as one of the best nations for women’s security and gender equality by the Women, Peace and Security Index.

For starters, Iceland has strong legislation protecting women from violence and discrimination.

Culturally, Iceland has great respect for work-life balance and gender equity. The country aims to eliminate the gender pay gap through certified equal pay policies.

Women enjoy access to healthcare services that focus on their needs. Iceland also has generous family leave policies enabling both mothers and fathers to care for children.

What’s more, Iceland has high rates of women’s political participation and women in leadership roles.

Iceland’s overall emphasis on women’s rights, safety and wellbeing has produced many positive outcomes.

Women benefit from freedom of movement, the ability to work night shifts safely, and walk home alone without undue fear.

#4. Denmark

Known for happiness and hygge, Denmark is also one of the world’s most women-friendly nations. The country comes in fourth position on the Women, Peace and Security Index.

Danish society prioritizes community, work-life balance, and gender equality in tangible ways.

Stroll the streets of Copenhagen solo at night and you’ll find other women out and about comfortably.

Hop on a train and make use of Denmark’s free childcare to explore solo while the kids are cared for.

Gender discrimination is illegal, and women have access to free healthcare services for their specific needs.

Denmark also offers a full year of paid family leave to encourage fathers to play an equal role in child-rearing.

At work, Denmark recently implemented a groundbreaking Equal Pay Act certifying that women and men receive fair wages.

Cultural values and government policies enable women to feel secure in their freedom and independence.

No matter whether you’re looking to study, work, raise a family, or simply travel as a solo woman – Denmark checks lots of boxes for safety and opportunity.

#5. Luxembourg

Who knew little Luxembourg would be such a haven for women?

This prosperous European country packs a big punch when it comes to female empowerment. Stroll through downtown Luxembourg’s cobblestone streets alone day or night – violent crime is rare.

Tap into first-rate universal healthcare tailored to women’s needs, no insurance required.

What’s more, working mothers can take up to 20 months of paid maternity leave while knowing their jobs will be there when they return.

Fathers get in on the action too with generous paternity benefits.

FYI – Luxembourg has one of the world’s smallest gender pay gaps, with women even out-earning men in certain areas.

While vestiges of traditional roles do exist, women in Luxembourg have major agency over their life choices.

All levels of education are available to women who consistently outperform men academically.

No wonder nearly 70% of working age women are employed – thanks to policies enabling work-life balance.

In government, women held 33.3% of seats in the country’s national parliament, according to 2022 data from the World Bank.

#6. Switzerland

Progressive Switzerland ranks highly on most quality of life indexes – and women’s safety and rights are no exception.

Violent crime rates in Switzerland are low, allowing for comfortable solo hiking or urban exploring.

Robust Swiss healthcare provides extensive services for women’s needs throughout life.

New mothers enjoy four months of paid maternity leave at 80% salary. Fathers also receive paid paternity leave, encouraging shared parenting.

What’s more, Switzerland has made big strides toward gender equity, with a gender pay gap under 15%. Also, anti-discrimination laws prohibit workplace bias based on gender or family status.

Generous maternity leaves enable women to balance career and motherhood. Education is equally accessible to women, who excel in fields like science and research.

Switzerland has further room for improvement but offers women many advantages – from security to success, nature to cosmopolitan cities.

In short, Switzerland is a worthy contender for women seeking a balance of adventure, advancement and peace of mind.

#7. Sweden

Sweden comes in seventh place on our roundup of the safest countries for women.

Sweden’s long-standing commitment to policies benefiting women, children and families explain why it’s regarded as one of the most woman-friendly societies.

Swedish law strictly prohibits discrimination and violence against women. Generous parental leave allows mothers and fathers to care for children without sacrificing their careers.

Affordable childcare enables women’s participation in the workforce. Sweden has small gaps between women’s and men’s education, pay, and leadership representation.

Culturally, Swedish society embraces feminism and women taking charge of their futures. Sweden has never ranked below 4th place on the Global Gender Gap Index.

Public transportation in Sweden features safety initiatives to prevent harassment.

The country also offers state-funded emergency hotlines, shelters, and counseling to help women experiencing abuse or discrimination.

Importantly for women planning a move to Sweden, excellent social services provide additional security (which you can access once you get residency).

Numerous high quality health clinics cater to women’s medical needs and family planning.

Whether relocating, visiting or living in Sweden as a woman, you’ll find that both personal security and individual rights are well-protected.

#8. Austria

With its rich cultural heritage and stunning alpine landscapes, Austria also shines as a progressive nation for women’s rights.

The country’s robust legislation prohibits workplace discrimination and protects women from domestic abuse.

In Austria, you’ll find excellent healthcare services catering to women’s needs.

What’s more, working mothers enjoy paid maternity leave, generous family allowances, and access to affordable childcare – enabling greater participation in the workforce.

Educational parity allows Austrian women to access vocational training and higher education alongside men.

And culturally, Austria promotes gender equality, for example through a range of public awareness campaigns combating gender stereotypes.

Importantly, Austria’s low violent crime rates allow women to navigate public spaces safely. Taking public transit even late at night has minimal safety concerns for women.

Walking city streets alone, both day and night, also poses little risk thanks to adequate street lighting and active police presence.

While some traditional attitudes do persist, women actively participate in politics, academia, business and everyday life with personal security.

Overall, Austria provides a generally safe environment for women in both the public and private spheres.

#9. The United Kingdom

The United Kingdom generally scores well on international rankings of women’s rights and protections.

In the latest Women, Peace and Security Index, the UK placed 9th overall based on metrics like inclusion, justice, and security.

British law prohibits discrimination and violence against women in relationships, workplaces, and public spaces.

Women enjoy access to healthcare, education, economic participation, and political representation.

Cultural attitudes in the UK tend to emphasize gender equality, with feminism actively reshaping mindsets.

In terms of safely navigating public areas, most UK cities have adequate lighting, police patrols, and secure public transit.

Women can generally walk city streets or take buses and trains alone late at night without undue concerns.

Despite this, vigilance is still warranted, as harassment and assault do occur on UK streets and other environments, especially with the country’s prevalent heavy drinking culture.

Apps like Get Home Safe enable reporting of issues to improve community safety.

The UK still has issues with domestic abuse, the gender pay gap, and other challenges.

But the country actively seeks to evolve its policies and culture to enable women to realize their rights and potential while feeling safe in daily life.

#10. The Netherlands

The Netherlands is frequently ranked as one of the best countries for women’s equality and personal security.

It comes in 10th place on the latest edition of the Women, Peace and Security Index.

Dutch laws strictly prohibit discrimination, harassment, domestic abuse, and violence against women.

The Netherlands provides excellent healthcare, social services, and family planning resources focused on women’s needs.

Dutch women enjoy high rates of economic and political participation. The gender pay gap is smaller than most countries.

Culturally, the Netherlands leans progressive on issues like sexuality, motherhood, and gender roles.

Safety in public spaces is less of a concern for Dutch women than in many other countries.

Cities like Amsterdam and Rotterdam have good lighting, strong public transit systems, and police presence allowing comfortable mobility.

However, sexual harassment remains a problem in the Netherlands, with statistics showing that 67 percent of women aged 12 to 25 have experienced sexual harassment or intimidation when out and about in the Netherlands.

Nevertheless, the Netherlands remains actively focused on further improving women’s protections, both under the law and in day to day life.

For women seeking a country that offers them autonomy, rights, and security, the Netherlands remains an appealing choice.

Understanding the Data

All-rounder of the top 10 safest countries for women is based on data from the Women, Peace and Security (WPS) Index, created by Georgetown Institute for Women, Peace and Security and the Peace Research Institute Oslo.

The WPS index measures women’s inclusion, justice, and security in 170 countries. It includes three main dimensions made up of 11 indicators:

Inclusion: measures economic, social, and political participation. Indicators are education, financial inclusion, employment, cellphone use, and parliamentary representation.

Justice: measures formal laws and informal discrimination. Indicators are legal discrimination, son bias, and discriminatory norms.

Security: measures security at individual, community, and society levels. Indicators are intimate partner violence, community safety, and organized violence.

Each country is scored from 0 (worst) to 1 (best) based on a weighted average of the 11 indicators.

The data is assembled from a range of international databases, national statistics, and surveys.

In the latest 2021 index, the top country was Norway (.922) and the bottom was Afghanistan (.278). The latter is one of the most dangerous countries in the world.

The global average score was .721.

This index is a really useful tool for comparing progress on women’s empowerment across countries and over time.

Final Thoughts

The Nordic countries consistently rank as the safest countries for women due to their commitment to gender equality under the law and in practice.

If you’re a woman considering relocating, northern European nations like Denmark, Finland, and Sweden offer excellent social services, safety protections, and professional opportunities in an overall secure, open environment.

When narrowing down a suitable country for your move, I recommend starting by researching the residency visa requirements.

In Europe, these typically include passive income or retirement visas, investor visas (such as the Golden Visa), and work visas (which will require sponsorship from a local employer).

Several countries on this list, such as Luxembourg, provide a straightforward pathway to acquiring EU citizenship, which would allow you to live, work, study, and retire, freely across the rest of the EU.

Keep in mind, if you already hold a passport from any EU country, you can relocate anywhere within the EU/EEA or Switzerland without any need for a visa.

Also consider connecting with networks of expat women for insider insights about how to thrive as a foreign woman in your new home country.

For short-term travel, solo female travelers will find exploring safe and easy in these countries. Just use common sense as you get around.

While no society is perfect, these highest-ranked nations on the Women, Peace and Security Index excel at human development policies that empower women.

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