The Global Gender Gap Index

The Herald reports on the . NZ is 5th from the top (ie the 5th smallest gap) which is pleasing. 2009 is the third year in the row in 5th place.

The breakdown by category is:

  • Economic Participation and Opportunity 7th
  • Educational Attainment 1st=
  • Health & Survival72nd
  • Political Empowerment 7th

I noted in 2007:

Note however this is not a measure of how well off women are generally in each country – it is a measure of how they do compared to men.

So while the US may be in 31st place, you’d probably rather be a woman there than in Lesotho which is 26th.


Looking further at the raw data, one soon realises that the educational and health scores have almost no effect because all the countries are so close together. The top score in education is 100% and the median score is 98.9%. Going to health the top score is 98.0% and the median is 97.6%. …

So in reality this gender gap ranking is primarily a ranking of political empowerment.  We see this because four countries which top the political empowerment section also top the overall survey.

There is an interesting correlation between how competitive a country is, and the gender gap:

Figure 7 shows a plot of the Global Gender Gap Index 2009 scores against the Global Competitiveness Index 2009–2010 scores, while Figure 8 plots the Global Gender Gap Index 2009 scores against GDP per capita.We have produced these graphs in all previous editions of the Report; both graphs once again confirm the correlation between gender equality and the level of development of countries.The correlation is evident despite the fact that, as opposed to other gender indexes, the Global Gender Gap Index explicitly eliminates any direct impact of the absolute levels of any of the variables (e.g., life expectancy, educational attainment, labour force participation) on the Index.While correlation does not prove causality, it is consistent with the theory and mounting evidence that empowering women means a more efficient use of a nation’s human talent.

Some of Japan’s economic problems are put down to their cultural reluctance to have women fully participate in the work force.

The NZ country profile is interesting. Some stats:

  • NZ is 1st in the world for female professional and technical workers 0 outnumbering males 54% to 36%
  • NZ also has massively high female participation in tertiary education
  • We rank 15th for female legislators and 18th for female Ministers at 34% and 32% respoectively
  • We rank 8th for female as head of state, being 11 of the last 50 years. Not sure if they mean Head of Govt or Head of State. In theory we have had a female Head of State for 50 of the last 50 years

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