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Gender Equity Index


Social Watch

Stated Purpose: 

The Gender Equity Index (GEI) is designed to measures the gap between women and men in education, economy and political empowerment

Area of Governance: 
Governance and Gender
Funding Source: 

Social Watch

Current usage: 

Used for the Social Watch Report and widely quoted in international media.

Type of data used: 

National statistical data.


Country Coverage: 154 countries (Global)
Year Coverage: 2007 - 2009, 2012 

Contact details: 

Social Watch
18 de Julio 1077/903 
Montevideo 11100 
Phone: + 598-2902-0490.
Fax: + 598-2902-0490/103


The GEI is a composite index composed of the eleven indicators representing three dimensions that measure the gap between women and men in three key social areas:

• Education: measured by the literacy gap between men and women and by male and female enrolment rates in primary, secondary and tertiary education.
• Participation in the economy: measured by the percentage of women and men in paid jobs, excluding agriculture, and by the income ratio of men to women.
• Empowerment: measured by the percentage of women in professional, technical, managerial and administrative jobs, and by the number of seats women have in parliament and the number of decision‐making ministerial posts held by women.

An index is generated for each of these dimensions based on the values of the component indicators.

The ratio of female to male performance for each of the eleven indicators is computed and rescaled to generate a value ranging from 0 (corresponding to the lowest ratio) to 100 (corresponding to the highest ratio). The values are rescaled to standardize the range of the component indicators and, thus, eliminate discrepancies in computation process if one or two of the indicators are missing or not available. The indicators are also weighted according to population to account for disparities in the population share of women and men in a particular country and, thus, produce a more accurate measure of the size of the gap in social participation between women and men. Since most countries have a greater number of women than men in their population, this weighting procedure is important in order not to under-represent the gap.  

An index for each of the three dimensions is generated by computing the simple average of the rescales values of the component indicators. The GEI, in turn, is generated by computing the simple average of the three indices representing the three dimensions.  

As a rule, the index for a particular dimension is generated if there are at least two indicators with available data (out of the three or four indicators). Otherwise, the index for the particular dimension is not computed, therefore, no GEI value is generated for the particular country. (Social Watch 2012)

Format of results: 

Uses a scale from 0 (when for example no women is educated at all and all men are) to 100 (perfect equality).

Valid Use: 

This measure should be used to advocate further opportunities for women.

Invalid Use: 

The index only measures gender gaps, and is not designed to measure gender well-being. A potential shortcoming is that it does not include indicators for informal work, unpaid and reproductive work, or time‐use. These are critical to understanding women’s participation in the economy because much of women’s work falls outside the formal sector.  


The core underlying assumption is that empowered women would make the same choices as men. That is that they would go for the same jobs, seek election to parliament just as frequently and undertake work at similar levels.

Example results: 

GEI 2012 - Measuring Tape