The Nordic countries remain the top countries in the world to close the gender gap, according to the just released The Global Gender Gap Report 2013. The report benchmarks national gender gaps of 136 countries on economic, political, education- and health-based criteria.

Topping the list is Iceland, followed by Finland, Norway and Sweden. The U.S. ranks 23.  While the report suggests improvement have been made, most of the change in has been small, and 50 countries have made no progress at all. Many countries with large Muslim populations rank towards the bottom of the report. Chad, Pakistan and Yemen rank at the end of the list.

The report tracks the correlation between a country’s gender gap and national competitiveness. The theory is because women account for one-half of a country’s population, a nation’s competitiveness is determined by whether and how it educates and utilizes its women – especially when considering long-term development.

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