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2021 opens a new decade of poverty and inequality

The WeWorld Index 2021 results

Philippines ranks 77th place in 2021 down from 57th place in 2020 out of a total of 172 countries.

As a result of climate change, 150 million people will need humanitarian aid in 2030, 50 million more than today; 258 million boys and girls are still not receiving an adequate education; at the end of 2021, 435 million girls and women worldwide will be below the poverty line. The year 2021 thus confirms the negative trend of 2020. The progress made in recent years towards achieving the 2030 Agenda Goals has come to a standstill with the arrival of Covid-19.

These are the main findings of the 2021 edition of the WeWorld Index, the ranking on the level of inclusion of women and children in 172 countries, which photographs the post-pandemic world by analysing the situation of women and children in relation to 34 indicators (environmental, social, educational, economic and health-related).

The 7th edition of the WeWorld Index report insists on the need to move from the mere promotion of women's and children's rights to their implementation, taking into account the effects of climate change on their lives and well-being. Climate change is in fact the focus of the WeWorld Index 2021.

The countries at the top (Iceland, New Zealand, Sweden, Switzerland and Finland) and at the bottom (Central African Republic, South Sudan and Chad) of the ranking do not change radically with respect to 2020, but the main data tells us that 2021 opens a new decade of poverty and inequality, a negative trend that began in 2020.

The progress made in recent years, more or less decisively from country to country, towards achieving the goals of the 2030 Agenda has suffered a decisive and transversal setback with the arrival of Covid-19.

The social groups that have suffered most are those who were already living in conditions of marginalization and discrimination before the pandemic, and among these are women and children, with 150 million people at humanitarian risk by 2030 due to climate change, 435 million girls and women below the poverty line and child labor that could increase by 8.9 million by the end of 2022.

Graphic source: Weworld


  • Compared to 2020, there are no major changes in the top positions: the most inclusive countries, for women and children, remain basically the same (North Europe, plus New Zealand and Switzerland), with a few slight changes in the position of some. In particular, Norway gets worse (from the first position in 2020 to the sixth in 2021) and Finland too (from the second to the fifth); Switzerland (from the seventh to the fourth) and New Zealand on the other hand (from the fifth to the second) improve.

  • The first three positions in the ranking are occupied by Iceland, New Zealand and Sweden. Switzerland and Finland are right behind them. This confirms the supremacy of Northern European countries, plus New Zealand. In the last positions we find the same countries of 2020: Central African Republic (170th position), South Sudan (171st) and Chad (172nd). In these countries, the situation of women and children is still critical in all the dimensions considered in the Index.

  • In 2020, in women's and children's rights and inclusion there had been a worsening due to the pandemic worldwide; 2021 confirms this negative trend.

  • In 2020, more than 50 million people were doubly affected: by climate change disasters and the Covid-19 pandemic.

  • In 2020, there were 26.4 million refugees worldwide. 39% of them are hosted in only 5 countries: Turkey, Colombia, Pakistan, Uganda and Germany. There are 40.5 million new IDPs, the highest number ever in the last ten years.

  • Before the outbreak of the pandemic, progress towards inclusive and equitable education for all was proceeding too slowly, with the prospect of having 200 million children still out-of-school in 2030. Nowadays about 258 million children are out of school: 59 million out of primary, 62 million out of lower secondary and138 million out of upper secondary. More than half of them live in Sub-Saharan Africa.

  • The employment crisis and school closures have forced low-income families to fall back on child labour or forced marriages as a coping mechanism. Due to Covid-19, child labour could increase by 8.9 million cases by the end of 2022, and more than half of these would involve children between 5 and 11 years old.

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Source: Weworld

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