In terms of gender equality, Yemen ranks the last in the world on the 2019 Sustainable Development Goals (SDG) Index rankings, with a score of 10.4 per cent.
The SDGs are 17 goals outlined in a UN resolution that are committed to addressing the greatest global challenges, such as poverty reduction, hunger and improving education. The report noted that conflicts in some Middle Eastern and North African (MENA) countries led to a worsening performance on most of the SDGs, but that all MENA countries continue to “face major challenges on the second SDG (no hunger) either due to undernourishment, stunting, obesity rates or issues related to sustainable land-use and agriculture.”
The best place to be a woman in the MENA
As for the fifth SDG, gender equality, higher performing MENA countries include Israel with a score of 75.2 per cent, Qatar with a score of 57.6 per cent and the UAE with a score of 56.3 per cent. Most countries’ performance in gender equality either stagnated or decreased from the 2018 SDG index, with the most dramatic decrease in performance being Bahrain’s eight-point-drop from 58.1 per cent to 50 per cent. However, a few countries improved in terms of gender equality, such as Qatar, Algeria and Djibouti.
Saudi Arabia’s performance decreased 4.5 points from last year, despite some recent reforms such as the end of the ban on women driving and eased restrictions on gender mixing. These reforms have been accompanied by a crackdown on dissent, including the arrest and alleged torture of women’s rights activists as well as Muslim clerics.
Somalia and Libya were not included in the study due to insufficient data.