How is gender equality measured? International Women's Day is the perfect time to find out
The campaign theme for this year’s International Women’s Day, occurring on March 8th, is #PressforProgress. This theme calls for feminists to insist on making gender parity a priority in every global society. According to the World Economic Forum’s 2017 Global Gender Gap Report, we are more than 200 years away from global gender equality — but we refuse to wait that long. How is gender equality measured in the first place? There are a few systems in place dedicated to deciphering the gender gap.
The United Nations Development Programme’s Gender Inequality Index (GII) has been measuring gender inequality since 1990. The index currently measures gender inequality based on three key aspects of human development within 159 countries: reproductive health, empowerment, and economic status.
The GII determines reproductive health progress by looking at the maternal mortality ratio and adolescent birth rates. Empowerment is measured by the number of females occupying parliamentary seats and the “proportion of adult females and males aged 25 years and older with at least some secondary education,” as the GII site states. Finally, economic status is “expressed as labor market participation and measured by labor force participation rate of female and male populations aged 15 years and older.”
As of 2015, Switzerland ranked number one on the GII scale, thus meaning the Swiss were the population closest to achieving gender parity. Yemen has the farthest to go in regard to gender equality and was ranked lowest on the Index. And as of 2015, the U.S. ranked 43rd.
But the GII isn’t the only system measuring gender equality, or lack thereof. The World Economic Forum’s Global Gender Gap Report, which is published annually, was introduced in 2006. It keeps tabs on gender parity in over 140 countries. To measure equality development, the Global Gender Gap Report collects data pertaining to female economic participation and opportunity, educational attainment, health and survival, and political empowerment.
This year, the Global Gender Gap Report pulled data from and ranked 144 countries. The report found that in 2017, “the average progress on closing the global gender gap stands at 68.0%,” thus leaving a 32% global gap that needs to be closed worldwide in order to achieve global gender equality.
A lot of data is put into both reports and indexes, and each of them are incredibly important resources for women and men across the world to use. We may be on the road to gender parity, but there are still miles ahead of us before worldwide gender equality exists.
If we #PressforProgress together, we can close the gender gap and hold hands in the fight for global equality.