The best place to be a working woman in the developed world is New Zealand, according to an index compiled by The Economist.

Compiled by The Economist for International Women's Day, the "glass-ceiling index" shows where women have the best chance of equal treatment at work.

The index is based mostly on data from the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD) and compares five indicators across 26 developed countries.

The indicators are: the number of men and women respectively with tertiary education, female labour-force participation, the male-female wage gap, the proportion of women in senior jobs and net child-care costs relative to the average wage. The last indicator is given less weight because not all working women have children.


The index shows that New Zealand scored the highest on all of the indicators overall, The Economist advising its readers: "If you are a working woman, you would do well to move to New Zealand."

Norway and Sweden aren't far behind at second and third place respectively, followed by Canada at fourth place and Australia at number five.

Broken down into categories, Sweden has the highest female labour-force participation rate at 78 per cent and Spain has the smallest wage gap, at 6 per cent.

The countries that fare the worst on the index are South Korea and Japan, which The Economist attributes to the small number of women who hold down senior jobs.