Wednesday, October 28, 2009

The Global Gender Gap Report 2009 - A misleading name

The new "Global Gender Gap Report" is out. In this report, gender equality is rated by:
Economic participation and opportunity
Educational attainment
Political empowerment
Health and survival
My biggest problem with this report is the misleading name as this reports does tell us more about womens' position in society than about gender equality. I cite:
Gender equality vs. women’s empowerment

The third distinguishing feature of the Global Gender Gap Index is that it ranks countries according to their proximity to gender equality rather than to women’s empowerment. Our aim is to focus on whether the gap between women and men in the chosen variables has declined, rather than whether women are “winning” the “battle of the sexes”. Hence, the Index rewards countries that reach the point where outcomes for women equal those for men, but it neither rewards nor penalizes cases in which women are outperforming men in particular variables.
If you ever spend some time thinking about gender equality in western countries you will certainly be able to pretend the outcome. Men will lead in the economic and political category, while women will lead in the educational and health/survival categories. This report has an interesting way to define gender equality.

Let us take Russia as an example. Wikipedia tells me the life expectancy for Russian men is almost 14 years lower than for Russian women (data from 2009). Life expectancy is besides sex ratio at birth the only criteria for the "Health and Survival" category.

When it comes to education, the report looks at the following criterias:
Female literacy rate over male value
Female net primary level enrolment over male value
Female net secondary level enrolment over male value
Female gross tertiary level enrolment over male value
And what can I say, Russian women are doing very well here, too. For the first 3 itmes the ratio is equal, for the last one the female-to-male ratio is 1.35 (for 100 men on Russian universities there are 135 women).

Now the above results for women, as rated by the report, would lead to a horrible rating in the category, but as we are talking about men here

we apparently have gender equality. If it isn´t cynical to call a difference in life expectancy of almost 14 years gender equality, I don´t know what is. And cynical might be the wrong word here.

1 comment:

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