Gender Development Index

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The Gender Related Development Index (GDI) is an index designed to measure gender equality.

GDI together with the Gender Empowerment Measure (GEM) were introduced in 1995 in the Human Development Report written by the United Nations Development Program. The aim of these measurements was to add a gender-sensitive dimension to the Human Development Index (HDI). The first measurement that they created as a result was the Gender-related Development Index (GDI). The GDI is defined as a "distribution-sensitive measure that accounts for the human development impact of existing gender gaps in the three components of the HDI" (Klasen 243). Distribution sensitive means that the GDI takes into account not only the averaged or general level of well-being and wealth within a given country, but focuses also on how this wealth and well-being is distributed between different groups within society. The HDI and the GDI (as well as the GEM) were created to rival the more traditional general income-based measures of development such as gross domestic product (GDP) and gross national product (GNP).[1]

Definition and calculation[edit]

The GDI is often considered a "gender-sensitive extension of the HDI" (Klasen 245). It addresses gender-gaps in life expectancy, education, and incomes. It uses an "inequality aversion" penalty, which creates a development score penalty for gender gaps in any of the categories of the Human Development Index which include life expectancy, adult literacy, school enrollment, and logarithmic transformations of per-capita income. In terms of life expectancy, the GDI assumes that women will live an average of five years longer than men. Additionally, in terms of income, the GDI considers income-gaps in terms of actual earned income.[1] The GDI cannot be used independently from the Human Development Index (HDI) score and so, it cannot be used on its own as an indicator of gender-gaps. Only the gap between the HDI and the GDI can actually be accurately considered; the GDI on its own is not an independent measure of gender-gaps.[2]

Gender Development Index (2017)[edit]

List of countries by their Gender Development Index 2017.[3]

2017
Rank
Country Gender Development Index Human Development Index
(Women)
Human Development Index
(Men)
1  Qatar 1.031 0.870 0.843
2  Latvia 1.030 0.858 0.834
3  Lithuania 1.026 0.868 0.846
4  Mongolia 1.023 0.750 0.733
5  Belarus 1.020 0.814 0.799
6  Estonia 1.019 0.876 0.860
6  Russia 1.019 0.823 0.808
8  Barbados 1.015 0.805 0.792
9  Namibia 1.014 0.651 0.642
9  Uruguay 1.014 0.807 0.794
11  Trinidad and Tobago 1.013 0.794 0.784
12  Venezuela 1.011 0.762 0.754
13  Kazakhstan 1.007 0.801 0.795
14  Poland 1.006 0.866 0.861
15  Moldova 1.005 0.701 0.698
15  Vietnam 1.005 0.696 0.692
17  Lesotho 1.004 0.519 0.516
18  Slovenia 1.003 0.898 0.895
19  Burundi 1.002 0.419 0.418
20  Finland 1.000 0.917 0.917
20  Philippines 1.000 0.699 0.698
22  Argentina 0.997 0.816 0.819
22  Colombia 0.997 0.747 0.749
24  Thailand 0.996 0.753 0.756
25  Saint Lucia 0.993 0.744 0.749
25  Ukraine 0.993 0.746 0.751
27  Brazil 0.992 0.755 0.761
27  Sweden 0.992 0.927 0.934
27  United States 0.992 0.919 0.926
30  Norway 0.991 0.945 0.953
30  Croatia 0.991 0.828 0.835
30  Slovakia 0.991 0.850 0.858
33  Brunei 0.990 0.846 0.854
33  Bulgaria 0.990 0.808 0.816
33  Kuwait 0.990 0.791 0.799
36  Dominican Republic 0.989 0.728 0.736
37  Jamaica 0.988 0.731 0.739
37  Panama 0.988 0.782 0.791
39   Switzerland 0.987 0.937 0.949
39  France 0.987 0.894 0.906
41  Canada 0.986 0.916 0.930
41  Czech Republic 0.986 0.881 0.894
43  Romania 0.985 0.804 0.817
44  Hungary 0.985 0.830 0.843
45  South Africa 0.984 0.692 0.704
45  Cyprus 0.984 0.853 0.875
47  Portugal 0.983 0.839 0.853
48  Singapore 0.982 0.922 0.939
49  Denmark 0.980 0.919 0.938
51  Belize 0.979 0.699 0.714
51  Ireland 0.979 0.926 0.946
51  Spain 0.979 0.879 0.898
54  Ecuador 0.978 0.741 0.769
54  Honduras 0.978 0.608 0.622
56  Botswana 0.976 0.707 0.725
56  Malaysia 0.976 0.791 0.810
56  Serbia 0.976 0.777 0.796
59  Australia 0.975 0.926 0.950
59  Japan 0.975 0.894 0.917
59  Israel 0.975 0.890 0.913
59  Georgia 0.975 0.766 0.786
59  Suriname 0.975 0.705 0.723
64  Costa Rica 0.974 0.779 0.800
65  Paraguay 0.972 0.690 0.710
66  Belgium 0.971 0.901 0.928
66  Austria 0.971 0.893 0.920
68  Albania 0.970 0.772 0.796
69  Armenia 0.969 0.740 0.764
69  El Salvador 0.969 0.663 0.684
69  Luxembourg 0.969 0.888 0.916
72  Mauritius 0.968 0.773 0.799
72  United Arab Emirates 0.968 0.832 0.859
74  Germany 0.967 0.919 0.951
74  Italy 0.967 0.863 0.893
76  Iceland 0.966 0.920 0.952
76  Nicaragua 0.966 0.642 0.665
76  Netherlands 0.966 0.913 0.944
76  New Zealand 0.966 0.900 0.932
80  Hong Kong 0.965 0.916 0.949
81  Greece 0.964 0.853 0.885
82  Madagascar 0.962 0.511 0.531
83  Chile 0.961 0.823 0.856
84  Kyrgyzstan 0.960 0.654 0.681
84  Malta 0.960 0.858 0.893
84  Tonga 0.960 0.707 0.736
84  United Kingdom 0.960 0.903 0.941
88  Myanmar 0.959 0.563 0.586
89  Montenegro 0.956 0.794 0.831
90  China 0.955 0.735 0.769
91  Mexico 0.954 0.752 0.789
92  Peru 0.950 0.728 0.766
93  Azerbaijan 0.949 0.734 0.773
93  Cape Verde 0.949 0.632 0.666
95  Guyana 0.948 0.631 0.666
95  Guatemala 0.948 0.630 0.665
97  North Macedonia 0.946 0.731 0.773
98  Uzbekistan 0.945 0.687 0.726
99  Eswatini 0.943 0.568 0.603
100  Oman 0.942 0.781 0.829
100  Cuba 0.942 0.751 0.797
⌀ average 0.941 0.705 0.749
102  Rwanda 0.941 0.508 0.540
102  Zambia 0.941 0.569 0.605
104  Malawi 0.936 0.460 0.492
105  Sri Lanka 0.935 0.738 0.789
106  Republic of the Congo 0.934 0.583 0.624
106  Laos 0.934 0.579 0.621
108  Tajikistan 0.933 0.624 0.669
109  Indonesia 0.932 0.666 0.715
109  South Korea 0.932 0.866 0.929
110  Bahrain 0.931 0.805 0.865
110  Kenya 0.931 0.568 0.610
112  Bolivia 0.929 0.665 0.716
112  Libya 0.929 0.668 0.719
114  Tanzania 0.928 0.517 0.557
115    Nepal 0.925 0.552 0.598
116  Bosnia and Herzegovina 0.924 0.739 0.800
116  Zimbabwe 0.924 0.513 0.555
118  Turkey 0.922 0.755 0.819
119  Maldives 0.919 0.679 0.739
120  Cambodia 0.914 0.553 0.605
121  Gabon 0.911 0.670 0.735
121  Senegal 0.911 0.481 0.528
123  Ghana 0.910 0.563 0.619
124  Mozambique 0.904 0.414 0.458
125  Tunisia 0.897 0.684 0.762
126  Bhutan 0.893 0.576 0.645
127  São Tomé and Príncipe 0.892 0.550 0.617
128  Gambia 0.890 0.434 0.487
129  Lebanon 0.889 0.701 0.788
130  Bangladesh 0.881 0.567 0.644
131  Palestine 0.877 0.623 0.710
131  Saudi Arabia 0.877 0.782 0.892
133  Comoros 0.876 0.465 0.531
134  Benin 0.875 0.479 0.547
135  Egypt 0.872 0.636 0.729
135  Sierra Leone 0.872 0.389 0.446
137  Iran 0.871 0.726 0.834
138  Burkina Faso 0.870 0.393 0.452
139  Nigeria 0.868 0.494 0.569
140  Cameroon 0.866 0.513 0.593
141  Uganda 0.865 0.475 0.550
142  Algeria 0.861 0.680 0.791
143  Jordan 0.857 0.658 0.767
144  Timor-Leste 0.855 0.567 0.663
145  Democratic Republic of the Congo 0.852 0.420 0.493
146  Ethiopia 0.846 0.424 0.501
146  Liberia 0.846 0.398 0.470
148  Mauritania 0.845 0.470 0.556
149  Ivory Coast 0.841 0.446 0.531
149  India 0.841 0.575 0.683
151  Morocco 0.838 0.598 0.713
152  Sudan 0.831 0.446 0.537
153  South Sudan 0.826 0.348 0.422
154  Iraq 0.823 0.603 0.733
155  Togo 0.822 0.446 0.542
156  Niger 0.812 0.317 0.391
157  Mali 0.811 0.380 0.469
158  Guinea 0.810 0.411 0.507
159  Syria 0.788 0.443 0.563
160  Central African Republic 0.780 0.319 0.409
161  Chad 0.775 0.350 0.452
162  Pakistan 0.750 0.465 0.620
163  Afghanistan 0.625 0.364 0.583
164  Yemen 0.425 0.223 0.524

Controversies[edit]

General debates[edit]

In the years since its creation in 1995, much debate has arisen surrounding the reliability, and usefulness of the Gender Development Index (GDI) in making adequate comparisons between different countries and in promoting gender-sensitive development. The GDI is particularly criticized for being often mistakenly interpreted as an independent measure of gender-gaps when it is not, in fact, intended to be interpreted in that way, because it can only be used in combination with the scores from the Human Development Index, but not on its own. Additionally, the data that is needed in order to calculate the GDI is not always readily available in many countries, making the measure very hard to calculate uniformly and internationally. There is also worry that the combination of so many different developmental influences in one measurement could result in muddled results and that perhaps the GDI (and the GEM) actually hide more than they reveal.[1]

Debates surrounding the life expectancy adjustment[edit]

More specifically, there has been a lot of debate over the life-expectancy component of the Gender-related Development Index (GDI). As was mentioned previously, the GDI life expectancy section is adjusted to assume that women will live, normally, five years longer than men. This provision has been debated, and it has been argued that if the GDI was really looking to promote true equality, it would strive to attain the same life-expectancy for women and men, despite what might be considered a biological advantage or not. However, this may seem paradoxical in terms of policy implications, because, theoretically, this could only be achieved through providing preferential treatment to males, effectively discriminating against females. Furthermore, it has been argued that the GDI doesn't account for sex-selective abortion, meaning that the penalty levied against a country for gender inequality is less because it affects less of the population (see Sen, Missing Women).[1]

Debates surrounding income gaps[edit]

Another area of debate surrounding the Gender-related Development Index (GDI) is in the area of income gaps. The GDI considers income-gaps in terms of actual earned income. This has been said to be problematic because often, men may make more money than women, but their income is shared. Additionally, the GDI has been criticized because it does not consider the value of care work as well as other work performed in the informal sector (such as cleaning, cooking, housework, and childcare). Another criticism of the GDI is that it only takes gender into account as a factor for inequality, it does not, however, consider inequality among class, region or race, which could be very significant.[1] Another criticism with the income-gap portion of the GDI is that it is heavily dependent on gross domestic product (GDP) and gross national product (GNP). For most countries, the earned-income gap accounts for more than 90% of the gender penalty.

Suggested alternatives[edit]

As was suggested by Halis Akder in 1994, one alternative to the Gender-related Development Index would be the calculation of a separate male and female Human Development Index (HDI). Another suggested alternative is the Gender Gap Measure which could be interpreted directly as a measure of gender inequality, instead of having to be compared to the Human Development Index (HDI) as the GDI is. It would average the female-male gaps in human development and use a gender-gap in labor force participation instead of earned income. In the 2010 Human Development Report, another alternative to the Gender-related Development Index (GDI), namely, the Gender Inequality Index (GII) was proposed in order to address some of the shortcomings of the GDI. This new experimental measure contains three dimensions: Reproductive Health, Empowerment, and Labor Market Participation.[2]

See also[edit]

Indices

References[edit]

  1. ^ a b c d e Klasen S. UNDP's Gender-Related Measures: Some Conceptual Problems and Possible Solutions. Journal of Human Development [serial online]. July 2006;7(2):243-274. Available from: EconLit with Full Text, Ipswich, MA. Accessed September 26, 2011.
  2. ^ a b Klasen, Stephan1; Schuler, Dana. Reforming the Gender-Related Development Index and the Gender Empowerment Measure: Implementing Some Specific Proposals. Feminist Economics. January 2011 (1) 1 - 30
  3. ^ "Gender Development Index". hdr.undp.org. Retrieved 2019-01-02.