The Economist is heralding International Women's Day 2016 (March 8) the only way they know how: a disheartening infographic about the status of women in the workforce around the world. The 'glass-ceiling index' "aims to reveal where women have the best chances of equal treatment at work," combining factors such as "higher education, labour-force participation, pay, child-care costs, maternity rights, business-school applications and representation in senior jobs." Where does the U.S. stack up, you ask reluctantly because you have a bad feeling about what the answer is? Below average.

The graph also shows that American exceptionalism is relative.

According The Economist, Nordic nations "whose commitment to sexual equality goes back a long way" are pretty much the happening place for working women to be.

In these countries, women are present in the labour force at similar rates to men. Finland has the largest share of women who have gone through higher education compared with men (49% of women have a tertiary degree, and 35% of men). Norway’s gender wage-gap (6.3%) is less than half the OECD average (15.5%).

Women have 44% of seats on listed-company boards in Iceland; strong representation in Scandinavian boardrooms is common thanks to quotas. Norway and Iceland also have voluntary political-party quotas, as does Sweden where 44% of parliamentary seats are occupied by women, one of the highest rates in the world.

Sources: The Economist | U.S. Department of Labor