20 Best Countries for Women Who Want to Leave the U.S.

This syndicated article was originally published on Expatsi.

American women who want to move abroad gather in hundreds of Facebook groups that target female expats. Some of those groups include Mexico Wild Women Expat Community (18k members), Black Women Expats in Panama (2.1k members), and Coffee with Expat Women (4.3k members). They’re excellent resources for meeting other women who’ve emigrated from the United States.

If you’re a woman considering immigration for yourself, the Women Peace and Security Index is a good place to start. This data, compiled by Georgetown University, uses metrics like education, cellphone use, legal discrimination, and partner violence to measure women’s quality of life. The report does not account for race or other intersectional data.

The index, which is from 2022, ranked the United States in 21st place prior to overturning Roe V. Wade. These countries were ranked as the top 20.

1. Norway

woman in Norway in orange hat.
Image credit Hanhalo Yehor via Shutterstock.

The report notes that, with a few exceptions, “Countries where women are doing well tend to be those with strong and more open democratic institutions.” It also notes that, “Rates of financial inclusion range from universal in Denmark, Norway, and Sweden to fewer than 1 woman in 20 in South Sudan and Yemen.”

2. Finland

Blonde woman in Finland.
Image credit Ranta Images via Shutterstock.

Nordic countries outperform all others. Per the index, “Policies in the Nordic countries are associated with strong performances on the WPS Index.” Finland also regularly ranks first among the happiest countries in the world.

3. Iceland

blue eyed woman from Iceland.
Image credit Anton Kositcyn via Shutterstock.

As the report notes, “Nordic countries do well even by developed country standards. High achievements on the inclusion and justice fronts can be traced, at least in part, to public policies that promote a dual-earner model.”

4. Denmark

Woman riding bike in Denmark.
Image credit Vlad Teodor via Shutterstock.

“In Denmark, Norway, and Sweden, both fathers and mothers have access to at least a year of paid parental leave, also helping to even out childcare responsibilities,” says the report. Gender gaps in workforce participation are also small.

5. Luxembourg

Woman in Luxembourg. I
mage credit Alexey Fedorenko via Shutterstock.

This small nation is known for its safety and exemplary healthcare. Its parliament is comprised of 31.7% women.

6. Switzerland

woman in white jacket in Switzerland.
Image credit Juice Flair via Shutterstock.

Switzerland is tied with Singapore for lowest intimate partner violence, and 58.8% of women there are employed. Jobs are crucial for most women here, because the country is one of the most expensive to live in.

7. Sweden

Sweden. Woman in hat and gloves in ice water.
Image credit Girts Ragelis via Shutterstock.

Sweden performs slightly behind its Nordic neighbors, but it’s focused on women’s issues like sexual violence: “The Swedish government is resourcing the Crime Victim Compensation and Support authorities to handle cases of sexual violence.”

8. Austria

Young woman in Austria laying on grass. Image credit frantic00 via Shutterstock.
Young woman in Austria laying on grass.

Austria is having a banner year for drawing expats, as Vienna was recently named the move livable city by The Economist. The country is offering many options to live and work there.

9. United Kingdom

Woman in UK walking along street.
Image credit Maridav via Shutterstock.

Women have an average of 13.2 years of education in the UK, and the country has announced a new strategy for the rights of women and girls. It’s challenging to move to the UK, though, unless you’re studying abroad or have an existing job offer in the country.

10. The Netherlands

blonde woman. Netherlands.
Image credit Lifeframes via Shutterstock.

Five percent of women report intimate partner violence in the Netherlands, and 99.8% have access to financial freedom and services. American freelancers often use the DAFT visa to navigate their way to the Netherlands.

11. Germany

Woman in Germany.
Image credit Zigres via Shutterstock.

Women have an average of 13.9 years of schooling in Germany—the highest on the list. Women who want to study abroad should keep in mind that college in Germany is basically free, and programs in English are available.

12. Canada

Woman hiking in Canada.
Image credit attilio pregnolato via Shutterstock.

The report gives Canada a perfect score for absence of legal discrimination and discriminatory norms. Canada also has very permissive abortion laws and universal healthcare. The country is introducing a new digital nomad visa that should draw many Americans.

13. New Zealand

Maori women New Zealand.
Image credit Text and Tulip via Shutterstock.

New Zealand is nearing the aspirational 50% mark for parliamentary representation: 48.3% of its representatives are women. Women’s perception of safety was the lowest in the top 20, though, with only 50.3% of women feeling safe on their own at night. It’s challenging to move to New Zealand without a job offer or college acceptance letter, but younger Americans can go on a working holiday visa.

14. Spain

Spain. Flamenco dancer in red dress.
Image credit JOSE_ESCUDERO via Shutterstock.

Women in Spain have less education (10 years), financial inclusion (91.6%), and lower employment rates (44.3%) than previous countries on the list, but the country’s friendly visa program makes it one of the easiest top-20 countries to move to.

15. (tie) France

France. Woman buying baguette in Paris.
Image credit RossHelen via Shutterstock.

Like Canada, France also nets a perfect score for lack of legal discrimination. The country’s recent turmoil and civil unrest may deter some expats, but not the most dedicated Francophiles.

15. (tie) Singapore

woman in Singapore.
Image credit View Apart via Shutterstock.

Singapore is the least democratic country in the top 20, but its high female employment rate (61.9%), low intimate partner violence rate (2%), and perception of safety (96.9%) go a long way in offering women peace and freedom.

15. (tie) Slovenia

Blonde woman eating street food in Slovenia.
Image credit Matej Kastelic via Shutterstock.

Slovenia is a hidden gem for women who want to move abroad. It’s ranked in the top 10% of countries worldwide for both safety and healthcare, while offering an affordable retirement visa. Parliamentary representation is the lowest of any country in the top 20 (21.9%), but its other stats are impressive.

18. Portugal

Woman walking streets of Lisbon. Portugal.
Image credit kudla via Shutterstock.

Women in Portugal have the lowest amount of education of countries in the top 20 (9.2 years), but the country gets a perfect score for lack of legal discrimination, and women make up a respectable percentage of parliamentary representation (40%). Americans love moving to Portugal on the D7 (passive income/retirement) visa or the digital nomad visa.

19. Ireland

Red head Irish girl with freckles.
Image credit Alessandro Romagnoli via Shutterstock.

Ireland ranks high for years of education (12.9), financial inclusion (95.3%), and absence of legal discrimination (100%). The country has a flexible dual-citizenship program for people whose near ancestors were Irish citizens, and it also has a retirement visa for people who’d like to spend their golden years on the Emerald Isle.

20. Estonia

Woman in blue hat in Estonia.
Image credit George Trumpeter via Shutterstock.

Estonia is one of the best countries for women that you may have never considered. Women are very educated (13.6 years of schooling on average), enjoy high levels of financial inclusion (98.4%), and have 100% cellphone use. That’s not surprising in tech-savvy Estonia, where you can apply for visas and take care of other government functions online.


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