Saturday, June 2, 2012

OECD Better life index

Something fascinating happened:

The Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development's online Better Life Index measures well-being based on factors including health, jobs, community, education, safety and 'work-life balance'.

Researchers have now, for the first time, broken down the results into age and gender as well as by country.[...]

The OECD researchers said: 'Much has been said and written about the need for greater gender equality, but it is a rather complex picture.

'True, men earn more and work more than women, but they are also more likely to be victims of assault or murder, while women live longer and have stronger social networks but are more likely to end their lives in poverty.'

Before I link to the report itself, here is what I find remarkable. I have seen such indexes that compare the sexes from time to time. Usually when it comes to a rating of equality, when women do better than men this is interpreted as having equality. As an example, take the global gender gap report:

The Report’s Gender Gap Index ranks economies according to their gender gaps and their scores can be interpreted as the percentage of the inequality between women and men that has been closed. Information about gender imbalances to the advantage of women is explicitly prevented from affecting the score.

A somewhat crass example is Russia here. In the global gender gap report the life expectancy of Russian men is about a decade lower than for Russian women. This is interpreted as having equality.

Now what the OECD is doing seem to take gender into account a bit fairer, and I say a bit here as I am sure one can use many variables to point someone into a certain direction. This one looks good from a masculist standpoint.

In 25 countries, judging by that index, women have a better life, in 2 countries (Belgium and France) it is about equal and in the remaining 9 countries (Chile, Germany, Hungary, Italy Luxembourg, Portugal, Slovenia, Spain and Turkey) men are ahead.

Taking a closer look at the USA:

How to read the following table: Negative values mean inequality against men, while positive values represent inequalities against women. 0 means Equality. This is a bit different than the article that uses 1.0 as equality and does not give out negative values. I changed that so I could calculate a total number. Also keep in mind that for minor differences (see voter turnout) the report gives us a graph of who is in favour, yet does not give out a number other than 1.0 (=equality). So yes, women have a higher voter turnout, however the number is not that significant.

Gender Equality Ratings - USA


Section 1 - Jobs
----------------------------------------
Job Security                          0
Personal Earnings                   0.3
Employment Rate                     0.1
Long Term Unemployment Rate        -0.3
----------------------------------------
                                    0.1

Section 2 - Community
----------------------------------------
Quality of Support Network            0
----------------------------------------
                                      0

Section 3 - Education
----------------------------------------
Years in Education                 -0.1
Student Skills                        0
Educational Attainment                0
----------------------------------------
                                   -0.1

Section 4 - Environment
----------------------------------------
Water Quality                      -0.1
----------------------------------------
                                   -0.1

Section 5 - Civic Engagement
----------------------------------------
Voter Turnout                         0
----------------------------------------
                                      0


Section 6 - Health
----------------------------------------
Self Reported Health                  0
Life Expectancy                    -0.1
----------------------------------------
                                   -0.1


Section 7 - Life Satisfaction
----------------------------------------
Life Satisfaction                  -0.1
----------------------------------------
                                   -0.1


Section 8 - Safety
----------------------------------------
Homicide Rate                      -2.5
Assault Rate                       -0.3
----------------------------------------
                                   -2.8


Section 9 - Work-life Balance
----------------------------------------
Leisure/Personal Time                 0
Employers Working very long hours  -1.4
----------------------------------------
                                   -1.4

Sum
----------------------------------------
                                   -4.5

The not so surprising findings. When it comes to jobs in terms of employment and earnings men do better. As for civic engagement as well as in the community it is about equal. In terms of education, health, life satisfaction, safety and work-life balance men do worse than women. Men also self-report less satisfaction with the water quality, whatever that is supposed to show us.

All in all, this is a nice overview of recent problems men face.

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