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Malta is an island nation in the Mediterranean Sea with a population of some 405,000; it became independent of Great Britain in 1964. It is a prosperous country with a 2009 per capita Gross Domestic Product (GDP) of $23,800 and a high standard of living. Income distribution is among the most even in the world (Gini Index of 26.0, eighth lowest worldwide). Most of the population-98 percent-is Roman Catholic.

The World Economic Forum ranks Malta in the lower half of countries in terms of gender equality. On a scale where 1 indicates perfect equality and 0 inequality, in 2009 Malta's overall score was 0.664, or 88th out of 134 countries. On health and survival rates for women, Malta scored 0.974 (77th); on educational attainment 0.995 (47th); ...

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