Gender Equity Index. Inequity persists


Source: Social Watch

Rwanda, one of the world”s least developed countries, ranks third on the list of GEI scores, after Sweden and Finland, thanks to intensive affirmative action efforts. In the meantime, a number of high-income countries rank far down on the list. The evolution of the GEI between 2004 and 2007 reveals a few global advances, but the general trend seen throughout the world is either very slow progress or no progress at all. The United States, a high-income country, is one of the 10 countries that have experienced the greatest regression. Obviously, the key to gender equity lies not in a country’s economic power, but rather in its government’s political will.

Gender equity is a complex, multifaceted concept and is difficult to measure. With the objective of making a contribution to the debate and to the consistent monitoring of women’s situation, Social Watch has developed a Gender Equity Index. This index makes it possible to position and classify countries according to a selection of indicators relevant to gender inequity and based on internationally available and comparable information.

GEI classifies 154 countries and conclusively verifies that in no country do women enjoy the same opportunities as men, that high income levels are not necessary for the elimination of gender disparities and that although over the years some aspects of women’s situation have improved their opportunities in economic and political areas are still clearly limited.

The three dimensions included in GEI are: economic activity, empowerment and education. The index’s range of values is from 0 to 100, with lower values indicating greater inequity and higher values greater equity.

Sweden, Finland, Rwanda and Norway occupy the highest positions in the 2007 GEI. These countries register the least inequality between women and men. This good performance has been achieved by the application of affirmative action policies, particularly for political quota legislation and labour market equity.

GEI presents information on 40 countries in Sub-Saharan Africa, 36 in Europe, 28 in Latin America and the Caribbean, 19 in the Middle East and North Africa, 18 in East Asia and the Pacific, 6 in Central Asia, 5 in South Asia and 2 in North America. Together these countries represent more than 90% of the world’s population.

GEI was created in 2004. Here we present trends during the 2004-2007 period as well as the latest available data on individual countries.

Please, click here to visit the Social Watch website to read all the available information