Experts discuss improving measurements of gender disparities in human development

The Human Development Report Office at the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) convened an expert group meeting in partnership with UNU-GEST on “Gender Equality in Human Development – Measurements Revisited“ in Reykjavík, Iceland on 18 and 19 June 2015.

The meeting reviewed several of the most prominent composite gender-related indices in the Human Development Report (HDR) and elsewhere, discussing the strengths and weaknesses. The focus was on how the achievement of equality and empowerment may better be measured in an international context.

In 1995 the HDR introduced a composite index to measure the status of women worldwide. The first indices were replaced by the Gender Inequality Index (GII) in 2010, and complemented with the Gender Development Index (GDI) in 2014. The experts attending this meeting also reviewed other measures used worldwide such as the World Economic Forum´s Global Gender Gap Index (GGGI), the OECD Social Institutions and Gender Index (SIGI) and the European Institute for Gender Equality´s Gender Equality Index (EIGE´s GEI).

The meeting attracted experts from around the world representing a wide range of backgrounds - from gender equality, development and public policy, to statistics, social sciences, and economics. Likewise, they represented different stakeholders such as the UN, academia, research and policy communities.  This favoured the incorporation of various approaches to the discussion and allowed for exploring those areas that need greater attention, examine methodological underpinnings, and assess the potential of emerging data to fill gaps. The meeting was an opportunity to facilitate exchange of knowledge and best practices in promoting the use and development of the high quality socio-economic policy relevant indicators and to discuss new ideas and proposals to revise the methodology for measuring gender disparities in human development. Discussions also touched on how barriers and disadvantages against women ought to be considered in the measurement of disparities in opportunities and what new and emerging data sources might be included to help strengthen the way in which gender indices capture gaps in capacities between women and men. 


At the meeting: Dr. Irma Erlingsdóttir, director of UNU-GEST, Dr.Milorad Kovacevic, chief of statistics of the HDRO and Dr. Selim Jahan, director of the HDRO. 

These discussions are especially timely given the additional emphasis to the eradication of gender based inequalities in the post-2015 development agenda, as manifested in the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) - the universal set of goals, targets and indicators that UN member states will be expected to use to frame their agendas and political policies over the next 15 years.

This meeting is the first in a series of consultation that the Human Development Report Office at UNDP will be organising in the upcoming months to explore how to enrich the human development indices.