Which Are World's Most Family-Friendly Countries? (Hint -- Not Nigeria)

Which Are World's Most Family-Friendly Countries? (Hint -- Not Nigeria)

The biggest ever global picture of children's well-being, education and family life has been assembled into a series of maps by the University of California, Los Angeles. "When you look at a map, everyone's eyes go straight to where they live," says Dr Jody Heymann, director of the university's World Policy Analysis Centre.

Is paid leave available for mothers of infants?

Which Are World's Most Family-Friendly Countries? (Hint -- Not Nigeria)

Is paid leave available for fathers of infants?

Which Are World's Most Family-Friendly Countries? (Hint -- Not Nigeria)

There is plenty of information published about childhood and families, says Dr Heymann. "But with immense respect, much of it's unusable, no one is going to read the reports." But putting information into maps gives citizens the type of instant overview usually only available to academics or governments, she says. "It shows what can be achieved."

Do constitutions guarantee the right to education for children with disabilities?

Which Are World's Most Family-Friendly Countries? (Hint -- Not Nigeria)

The maps can challenge what is considered to be usual or acceptable, by showing what happens in other countries, say the researchers. This map shows how few countries ensure the legal right of an education for children with disabilities.

Are mothers guaranteed breastfeeding breaks at work?

Which Are World's Most Family-Friendly Countries? (Hint -- Not Nigeria)

There are also cases where there are rights for mothers in developing countries which are not available elsewhere. The maps draw upon data on public policies from 193 UN member states.

How much education must primary-school teachers complete?

Which Are World's Most Family-Friendly Countries? (Hint -- Not Nigeria)

"The impact of maps means that you can see clusters that you wouldn't see before. It shows the patterns," says Dr Heymann. Wealthier countries expect and can provide higher levels of education for primary teachers.

How many hours are 14-year-olds legally protected from working on a school day?

Which Are World's Most Family-Friendly Countries? (Hint -- Not Nigeria)

Education is also interlinked with other social factors such as the local labour market. "If children are able to work, marry young, then it's going to have an impact on their education," says Dr Heymann. The map shows the choices made by neighbouring countries, she says, such as the tighter child labour laws in Chile.

What is the minimum age to purchase alcohol leagally?

Which Are World's Most Family-Friendly Countries? (Hint -- Not Nigeria)

This chart shows that there are legal limits over children's access to alcohol in many countries, with cultural as well as economic differences.

Is smoking banned in schools?

Which Are World's Most Family-Friendly Countries? (Hint -- Not Nigeria)

The global maps reveal how much attitudes to health can differ. In many countries there are no smoking bans for schools.

Is there a motor vehicle restraints law?

Which Are World's Most Family-Friendly Countries? (Hint -- Not Nigeria)

What is safety in childhood? In many countries there are no legal obligations to wear seat belts in a car.

How many dentistry personnel are available?

Which Are World's Most Family-Friendly Countries? (Hint -- Not Nigeria)

The world is starkly divided in the provision of health care. Western countries and most of south America have access to dentists unavailable to families in most other countries.

Do constitutions protect against discrimination in work based on ethnicity?

Which Are World's Most Family-Friendly Countries? (Hint -- Not Nigeria)

There are very few countries where there are specific laws against racial discrimination at work.

How much would an unemployed minimum wage worker receive per day?

Which Are World's Most Family-Friendly Countries? (Hint -- Not Nigeria)

Social conditions and the economics of family life are all part of the story of children's well-being and their ability to progress. There is much less assistance available in many fragile African economies.

What proportion of the population has access to safe drinking water?

Which Are World's Most Family-Friendly Countries? (Hint -- Not Nigeria)

The chances of a child getting a safe drink of water vary widely according to where a child is born. In many places the odds are stacked against them.

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