Social Indicators Research

, Volume 110, Issue 3, pp 927–950 | Cite as

Are UNDP Indices Appropriate to Capture Gender Inequalities in Europe?

Article

Abstract

This study critically investigates the suitability of United Nations’ composite indices and other related measures—among which the Gender Inequality Index just released in 2010—to capture gender inequalities in the context of “highly developed” countries, focusing on the case of Europe. Our results indicate that many of the gender gaps in health and education variables have either vanished or even reversed, thus questioning their appropriateness to capture women’s disadvantage in Europe and inviting to construct region-specific measures. Alternatively, parliamentary representation and labor force participation are variables with large gender gaps that highlight important dimensions where women disadvantage prevails. Different cross-section and cross-time associations between economic growth and gender equality are generally not statistically significant—or at most weakly correlated—at European level. This is basically due to the fact that the gender gaps included in UNDP gender-related indices reached their normatively desirable values long ago, therefore leaving no room for further improvement.

Keywords

Gender inequality United Nations Development Program Indices Europe 

References

  1. Bardhan, K., & Klasen, S. (1999). UNDP’s gender-related indices: A critical review. World Development, 27(6), 985–1010.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  2. Beneria, L. (2008). The crisis of care, international migration, and public policy. Feminist Economics, 14(3), 1–21.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  3. Beneria, L., & Permanyer, I. (2010). The measurement of socio-economic gender inequality revisited. Development and Change, 41, 375–399.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  4. Bericat, E. (2011) The European gender equality index: Conceptual and analytical issues. Social Indicators Research, doi: 10.1007/s11205-011-9872-z.
  5. Dijkstra, A. G. (2002). Revisiting UNDP’s GDI and GEM: Towards an alternative. Social Indicators Research, 57, 301–338.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  6. Dijkstra, A. G. (2006). Towards a fresh start in measuring gender inequality: A contribution to the debate. Journal of Human Development, 7(2), 275–283.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  7. Dijkstra, A. G., & Hanmer, L. C. (2000). Measuring socio-economic gender inequality: Towards an alternative to the UNDP gender-related development index. Feminist Economics, 6(2), 41–75.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  8. Dollar, D., & Gatti, R. (1999). Gender inequality, income and growth: Are good times for women? Washington DC: The World Bank.Google Scholar
  9. Dorius, S., & Firebaugh, G. (2010). Trends in global gender inequality. Social Forces, 88(5), 1941–1968.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  10. Easterly, W. (1999). Life during growth. Journal of Economic Growth, 4, 239–276.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  11. Esquivel, V., Budlender, D., Folbre, N., & Hirway, I. (2008). Explorations: Time-use surveys in the South. Feminist Economics, 14(3), 107–152.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  12. Folbre, N. (2006). Measuring care: Gender, empowerment, and the care economy. Journal of Human Development, 7(2), 183–199.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  13. Forbes, K. J. (2000). A reassessment of the relationship between inequality and growth. American Economic Review, 90(4), 860–887.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  14. Forsythe, N., Korzeniewick, R., & Durrant, V. (2000). Gender inequalities and economic growth: A longitudinal evaluation. Economic Development and Cultural Change, 48(3), 573–617.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  15. Gaye, A., Klugman, J., Kovacevic, M., Twigg, S., & Zambrano, E. (2010). Measuring key disparities in human development: The gender inequality index. Human Development Research Paper 2010/46.Google Scholar
  16. Hausmann, R., Tyson, L., & Zahidi, S. (2007). The global gender gap report 2007. Switzerland: World Economic Forum.Google Scholar
  17. Hawken, A., & Munck, G. (2009) Cross-national indices with gender-differentiated data: What do they measure? How valid are they? Technical background paper for the forthcoming UNDP Asia Pacific Human Development Report on gender. UNDP.Google Scholar
  18. Jütting, J., Morrisson, C., Johnson, J., & Drechsler, D. (2008). Measuring gender (In)equality: The OECD gender, institutions and development data base. Journal of Human Development, 9(1), 65–86.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  19. Klasen, S. (1999). Does gender inequality reduce growth and development? Evidence from cross-country regressions. Policy research report on gender and development, Working paper series No.7, The World Bank.Google Scholar
  20. Klasen, S. (2006). UNDP’s gender-related measures: Some conceptual problems and possible solutions. Journal of Human Development, 7(2), 243–274.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  21. Klasen, S., & Schüler, D. (2011). Reforming the gender-related development index and the gender empowerment measure: Implementing some specific proposals. Feminist Economics, 17(1), 1–30.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  22. Lutz, W., Goujon, A., KC, S., & Sanderson, W. (2007). Reconstruction of populations by age, sex and level of educational attainment for 120 countries for 1970–2000. Vienna Yearbook of Population Research, 2007, 193–235.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  23. Nardo, M., Saisana, M., Saltelli, A., Tarantola, S., Hoffman, A., & Giovannini E. (2005). Handbook on constructing composite indicators: Methodology and user guide. OECD Statistics Working Paper STD/DOC(2005)3, OECD, Paris.Google Scholar
  24. Notzon, F., Komarov, Y., Ermakov, S., Sempos, C., Marks, J., & Sempos, E. (1998). Causes of declining life expectancy in Russia. Journal of the American Medical Association, 279(10), 793–800.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  25. Permanyer, I. (2008). On the measurement of gender equality and gender-related development levels. Journal of Human Development, 9(1), 87–108.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  26. Permanyer, I. (2010). The measurement of multidimensional gender inequality: Continuing the debate. Social Indicators Research, 95(2), 181–198.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  27. Plantenga, J., Figueiredo, H., Remery, C., & Smith, M. (2009). Towards an EU gender equality index. Journal of European Social Policy, 19(1), 19–33.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  28. Ravaillon, M. (2010). Mashup Indices of Development. World Bank Policy Research Working Paper No. 5432.Google Scholar
  29. Ravaillon, M. (2011). On multidimensional indices of poverty. Journal of Economic Inequality, 9(2), 235–248.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  30. Seguino, S. (2000). Gender inequality and economic growth: A cross-country analysis. World Development, 28(7), 1211–1230.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  31. Seth, S. (2009). A class of association sensitive multidimensional welfare indices. OPHI WP27.Google Scholar
  32. Smyth, I. (1996). Gender analysis of family planning: Beyond the feminist vs. population control debate. Feminist Economics, 2(2), 63–86.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  33. Social Watch (2004). Social Watch Annual Report 2004. Montevideo: Instituto del Tercer Mundo.Google Scholar
  34. UNDP (1995). Human Development Report 1995. Gender and Human Development, New York.Google Scholar
  35. UNDP (2010). Human Development Report 2010. The Real Wealth of Nations: Pathways to Human Development, New York.Google Scholar
  36. UNECA (United Nations Economic Commission for Africa). (2004). The African Gender and Development Index (Addis Ababa, Ethiopia: Economic Commission for Africa).Google Scholar
  37. Unterhalter, E. (2006). Measuring gender inequality in education in South Asia. UNICEF and UNGEI.Google Scholar

Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media B.V. 2011

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Centre d’Estudis DemogràficsBellateraSpain

Personalised recommendations