Image: Shamsia, 17, victim of an acid attack by the Taliban, is visited by her friends at a hospital in Kabul
Omar Sobhani  /  REUTERS, file
Shamsia, 17, a victim of an acid attack by the Taliban, is visited by her friends at a hospital in Kabul in November, 2008. Violence, NATO airstrikes and cultural practices have combined to make Afghanistan the most dangerous country in the world for women, says Antonella Notari of Women Change Makers, a group that supports women social entrepreneurs worldwide.
msnbc.com
updated 6/15/2011 4:16:00 AM ET 2011-06-15T08:16:00

An ongoing war, dismal health care and extreme poverty make Afghanistan the most dangerous country in the world for women, according to a global survey.

Congo was a close second due to horrific levels of rape, according to the poll by TrustLaw, a legal news service run by Thomson Reuters Foundation. Pakistan, India and Somalia rounded out the top five.

The poll, released Wednesday, surveyed perceptions of threats ranging from domestic abuse and economic discrimination to female fetus killing, genital mutilation and acid attacks.

"Ongoing conflict, NATO airstrikes and cultural practices combined make Afghanistan a very dangerous place for women," TrustLaw quoted Antonella Notari, head of Women Change Makers, a group that supports women social entrepreneurs around the world, as saying.

"In addition, women who do attempt to speak out or take on public roles that challenge ingrained gender stereotypes of what's acceptable for women to do or not, such as working as policewomen or news broadcasters, are often intimidated or killed," she said.

TrustLaw asked 213 gender experts from five continents to rank countries by overall perceptions of danger as well as by six risks: health threats, sexual violence, non-sexual violence, cultural or religious factors, lack of access to resources and trafficking. Poll respondents included aid professionals, academics, health workers, policymakers, journalists and development specialists.

"Hidden dangers — like a lack of education or terrible access to healthcare — are as deadly, if not more so, than physical dangers like rape and murder which usually grab the headlines,” Monique Villa, chief executive of the Thomson Reuters Foundation, was quoted as saying by The Guardian newspaper. "In Afghanistan, for instance, women have a one in 11 chance of dying in childbirth. In the top five countries, basic human rights are systematically denied to women.

"Empowering women tackles the very roots of poverty. In the developing world when a woman works, her children are better fed and better educated because they spend their money for their family."

© 2013 msnbc.com Reprints

Video: Deadly attack at Kabul shopping mall

Photos: Afghanistan, seen through a Humvee window

loading photos...
  1. Spc. Clinton Eaton of Albuquerque, N.M., and the Army's 82nd Airborne Division reads a book during a break at Patrol Base Machine in Herat Province, Afghanistan, on June 24. Most of the pictures in this slideshow were made from inside Humvees, which have served as the primary ground transport for U.S. troops starting in the 1980s, or newer M-ATV vehicles. (Chris Hondros / Getty Images) Back to slideshow navigation
  2. Afghan schoolgirls seen through the window of a Humvee wave to a passing American convoy June 26 in downtown Herat. Historic Herat, one of Afghanistan's largest cities, is bustling these days and is considered safe by American and Italian troops tasked with securing the region. They say they've mostly seen attacks in rural areas of the province. (Chris Hondros / Getty Images) Back to slideshow navigation
  3. A decorated motorcycle taxi is seen through the window of a Humvee on June 26 in downtown Herat. Photojournalist Chris Hondros told msnbc.com via an email from Afghanistan: "I've long been fascinated by the view through the window of a Humvee as it rolls through the cities or deserts of Afghanistan and Iraq." (Chris Hondros / Getty Images) Back to slideshow navigation
  4. Pedestrians walk on the side of the road on June 26 in Herat. Photographer Chris Hondros: "The view affords a paradoxical kind of intimacy; even rural Afghans are inured by now by the sight of big American armored vehicles moving through their midst, often barely looking up while they rumble by. So for a journalist, it's a unique opportunity to observe something much harder to witness while out in the open: Afghans going about their mundane, day-to-day lives. It's a precious window on a world that remains opaque and mysterious to most Americans." (Chris Hondros / Getty Images) Back to slideshow navigation
  5. Goats and sheep graze in a field June 26 in the village of Deh Moghol, Afghanistan. The 4th Brigage of the U.S. Army's 82nd Airborne Division has been working for nearly a year in Herat province, a historic crossroads near the Iranian and Turkmenistan borders. (Chris Hondros / Getty Images) Back to slideshow navigation
  6. An Afghan man rides a donkey June 22 in the Khushi Khona area of Herat Province. In Chris Hondros' recent experience, the U.S. military is using vehicles largely to get from point to point, but not for patrols. "American forces aren't often in any type of vehicle nowadays: engaging the populace face-to-face is an important part of the counterinsurgency philosophy espoused by General Petraeus, so there are a lot more walking patrols that leave the vehicles on base altogether." (Chris Hondros / Getty Images) Back to slideshow navigation
  7. Local transport: Afghanistan National Army soldiers in a pickup truck prepare to go on patrol with the U.S. Army's 82nd Airborne Division June 29 in Bala Murghab. (Chris Hondros / Getty Images) Back to slideshow navigation
  8. Spc. Franky Cava of McDonough, Ga., and the 82nd Airborne Division sits in the passenger seat of a Humvee on Patrol Base Machine at sundown June 24 in Herat Province. It could be the end of an era for Humvees, as Hondros notes: "The Humvees are liked for old time's sake but most troops realize their days have passed." (Chris Hondros / Getty Images) Back to slideshow navigation
  9. A soldier in the 1-71 Cavalry of the 10th Mountain Division walks down the hood of an M-ATV vehicle, the heavily-armored successor to the Humvee, on June 15 at Camp Nathan Smith in Kandahar, Afghanistan. The M-ATV and other mine-resistant vehicles have almost completely replaced the venerable Humvee for transporting American forces in Afghanistan, using innovations like thicker, irregularly-shaped windows to help protect troops from deadly roadside bombs and other explosions. (Chris Hondros / Getty Images) Back to slideshow navigation
  10. A line of small motorized taxis is seen through the window of a M-ATV vehicle. Getty Images photojournalist Chris Hondros is not a big fan of the M-ATV as a photography platform: "I started shooting through the windows of MAT-Vs, too, but it's much harder, as the windows are smaller, thicker, sit higher on the vehicle and are irregularly shaped." (Chris Hondros / Getty Images) Back to slideshow navigation
  11. A butcher shop in Kandahar. This M-ATV window is a least easier to shoot through than an MRAP's, and (far more importantly) the M-ATV has advantages for the troops, according to Hondros: "The troops like the M-ATVs, generally - they're well-designed and incredibly tough against roadside bombs. Another, larger vehicle called the MRAP is less popular; though also tough, its hulking mass is hard to navigate around Afghanistan's pitted dirt roads. I don't like them either, as MRAP windows are covered by horizontal steel slats, making my little photo project impossible." (Chris Hondros / Getty Images) Back to slideshow navigation
  12. A local goods truck in Kandahar. (Chris Hondros / Getty Images) Back to slideshow navigation
  13. A man walks by construction material shops in Kandahar. (Chris Hondros / Getty Images) Back to slideshow navigation
  14. A guard tower and the earthen wall of a military base are seen through the window of a M-ATV vehicle. One last note from photographer Chris Hondros, on the decline of the venerable Humvee: "My beloved Humvees are becoming an endanged vehicular species in Afghanistan; when I was embedded near Kandahar earlier in the month, they had no Humvees at all. But here in the northwest, where I am now, the rough-and-ready 82nd Airborne are still using them sometimes, so I've been able to continue my project." (Chris Hondros / Getty Images) Back to slideshow navigation
  1. Editor's note:
    This image contains graphic content that some viewers may find disturbing.

    Click to view the image, or use the buttons above to navigate away.

  2. Editor's note:
    This image contains graphic content that some viewers may find disturbing.

    Click to view the image, or use the buttons above to navigate away.

  3. Editor's note:
    This image contains graphic content that some viewers may find disturbing.

    Click to view the image, or use the buttons above to navigate away.

  4. Editor's note:
    This image contains graphic content that some viewers may find disturbing.

    Click to view the image, or use the buttons above to navigate away.

  1. Image: US Army Paratroopers Operate In Northwest Afghanistan
    Chris Hondros / Getty Images
    Above: Slideshow (14) Afghanistan, seen through a Humvee window
  2. Image: Afghan Land Mine Victims Pose For Portraits
    Majid Saeedi / Getty Images
    Slideshow (13) Scars of war: Mine victims
  3. Image: Orgun-E Base Plays Role In Disrupting Taliban Routes Along Pakistan Border
    Spencer Platt / Getty Images
    Slideshow (12) Mission in Afghanistan

Discuss:

Discussion comments

,

Most active discussions

  1. votes comments
  2. votes comments
  3. votes comments
  4. votes comments