Gender inequality remains a major barrier to human development. The 2010 Human Development Report introduced the Gender Inequality Index to meet the challenge of measuring the disadvantages faced by women around the world. The Gender Inequality Index is a composite measure reflecting inequality in achievements between women and men in three dimensions: health, empowerment and the labour market. It varies between zero (when women and men fare equally) and one (when men or women fare poorly compared to the other in all dimensions). The health dimension is measured by two indicators: maternal mortality ratio and the adolescent fertility rate. The empowerment dimension is also measured by two indicators: the share of parliamentary seats held by each sex and by secondary and higher education attainment levels. The labour dimension is measured by women’s participation in the work force. The Gender Inequality Index is designed to reveal the extent to which national human development achievements are eroded by gender inequality, and to provide empirical foundations for policy analysis and advocacy efforts.
Top 10 Worst Performers: Gender Inequality Index (updated)
|Congo (Democratic Republic of the)||0.802|
|Central African Republic||0.763|
|Papua New Guinea||0.762|
Top 10 Best Performers: Gender Inequality Index (updated)
Gender Inequality Index Results from 2010 Human Development Report
Data for all indicators of the 2010 Gender Inequality Index were available for 138 countries. The world average score on the Gender Inequality Index is 0.56, reflecting a percentage loss in achievement across the three dimensions due to gender inequality of 56 percent. Regional averages range from 32 percent in developed OECD countries, to 74 percent in South Asia. At the country level losses due to gender inequality range from 17 percent in the Netherlands, to 85 percent in Yemen. Sub-Saharan Africa, South Asia and the Arab States suffer the largest losses due to gender inequality. Regional patterns reveal that reproductive health is the largest contributor to gender inequality around the world – women in sub-Saharan Africa, with a massive 99 percent loss, suffer the most in this dimension, followed by South Asia (98 percent) and the Arab States and Latin America and the Caribbean (each with 96 percent loss). The Arab States and South Asia are both also characterized by relatively weak female empowerment.
Human Development indicators related to gender:
More information about the Gender Inequality Index:
Technical Note 3 of the 2010 Human Development Report for the methodology of the index.
Table 4 of the 2010 Human Development Report for results of the 2010 Gender Inequality Index.
For the latest Human Development Report on gender, see:
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