Measuring Gender Equality

Figure 1: Stoet & Geary’s BIGI versus HDI (see text)

Here I compare and contrast three alternative measures of gender “equality”.

The first is the Global Gender Gap Index (GGGI), Ref.[1], which was devised by, and is vigorously promoted by, the World Economic Forum (WEF). The WEF represents global capital, it promotes Global Governance and runs the Davos conferences.

The second is the Gender Equality Index (GEI), Ref.[2], devised and promoted by the European Institute for Gender Equality (EIGE). EIGE is an EU organisation, though membership involves only 18 of the EU’s 28 States, plus the European Commission. The UK is not a member of EIGE. The GEI is therefore also a product of supranational globalism.

The third is the Basic Index of Gender Inequality (BIGI), Ref.[3], which was devised by two academic psychologists, Gijsbert Stoet (University of Essex) and David Geary (University of Missouri) without the assistance of any specific funding. It is not promoted by any major organisation, only by individuals genuinely concerned about equality.

GGGI combines measures of gender inequality in four areas, Economic Participation and Opportunity, Educational Attainment, Health and Survival, and Political Empowerment. Some of the key factors which contribute to GGGI are,

  • Participation rates in employment;
  • Gender pay gap;
  • An advancement gap which is said to be “captured through two hard data statistics (the ratio of women to men among legislators, senior officials and managers, and the ratio of women to men among technical and professional workers)”;
  • A measure of political empowerment which “measures the gap between men and women at the highest level of political decision-making through the ratio of women to men in ministerial positions and the ratio of women to men in parliamentary positions”.

Do these issues align with the concerns of any particular political movement at all?

Note that the last two bullets relate to only a tiny percentage of the population, of either sex, so it hardly seems appropriate to include them in a measure of gender equality applicable to the general population.

The worst aspect of GGGI is that the methodology used redefines all male disadvantage as equality. The one thing I would conceded to the WEF is that they are completely open about their bias. Here are some extracts from Ref.[1] which make this clear,

the Index rewards countries that reach the point where outcomes for women equal those for men, but it neither rewards nor penalizes cases in which women are outperforming men

Thus a country, which has higher enrolment for girls rather than boys in secondary school, will score equal to a country where boys’ and girls’ enrolment is the same.”

To capture gender equality, two possible scales were considered. One was a negative-positive scale capturing the size and direction of the gender gap. This scale penalizes either men’s advantage over women or women’s advantage over men and gives the highest points to absolute equality. The second choice was a one-sided scale that measures how close women are to reaching parity with men but does not reward or penalize countries for having a gender gap in the other direction. We find the one-sided scale more appropriate for our purposes, as it does not reward countries for having exceeded the parity benchmark.”

In short, they opted to be “one-sided”. And note how skewed is the thinking behind the phrasing of the last sentence. They are kind enough to concede that “exceeding the parity benchmark” does not actually deserve a reward. I should think not since “exceeding the parity benchmark” is a euphemism for male disadvantage. But under the smoke-screen of these words they legitimise air-brushing away male disadvantages entirely. Male disadvantage in longevity around the globe is redefined as equality, as is boys’ disadvantage in educational attainment in Western and other developed countries.

GGGI is not a measure of gender inequality; it is a measure of women’s advancement. It deliberately conceals inequalities to the disadvantage of men or boys.

Turning to the second equality measure…

In their own words, EIGE take “an intersectional approach” to their Gender Equality Index. (Note that application of GEI is confined to the EU).  GEI conceals male disadvantage in a different manner from GGGI, as made clear in the methodology document, Ref.[4]. It treats all gender inequalities, whether to the disadvantage of men or women, in the same manner. Like other measures it combines inequalities derived for a range of contributing aspects of life. Every inequality in any of the contributing factors, in whichever direction it occurs, causes an increase in the overall measure of inequality. In mathematical terms, it is the absolute magnitude of the gender gap which is used, whilst its sign is ignored (see section 2.2.1 of Ref.[4]). To quote Ref.[4], “it is not possible to derive information about either women or men directly from the scores.”

The GEI uses 31 equality indicators. For the overall GEI to indicate 100% equality, every single one of these 31 indicators would need to indicate 100% equality individually. In GEI there is no concept of “equal but different”. It recognises only absolutely identical lives to be equal lives. I am not being flippant when I note that full equality on this measure is impossible whilst men have no uterus. I wonder how EIGE would score their own work-life balance team, which consisted of ten women and one man.

The GEI’s ostensible gender blindness is disingenuous, as I illustrate below. I am reminded of the Crown Prosecution Service’s annual Violence Against Women and Girls (VAWG) reports, e.g., Ref.[5]. Here VAWG is defined as a category of offences whose victims may be women, girls, men or boys and so the reported statistics include offences against all victims irrespective of sex. But, preposterously, these statistics are presented within a report entitled Violence Against Women and Girls as if this is in no way misleading. Au contraire, it is deliberately misleading.

The EU’s GEI is also the tool of a certain political agenda. This is evident in this year’s special focus report on work-life balance, Ref.[6]. I hope the reader will indulge me as I outline what policy is truly being pursued in the six indicators presented under the banner of a “work-life scoreboard”…

Parental leave policies: There is no need for me to present data on parental leave. Whatever your opinion on the matter, the current fact is that overwhelmingly more maternity leave is taken than paternity leave. Yet EIGE chooses to headline that more women than men are ineligible for parental leave. How come? Well, more women are ineligible for parental leave simply because they are not working. The policy that is actually being promoted is the desire to get more women into paid employment. But this objective is disguised by being presented, ostensibly, as an equality issue – namely equal eligibility for parental leave. You see how that works?

Informal caring for children: The statistic emphasised here is “not enrolled in childcare”. Why is not having children cared for commercially, rather than by a parent, being promoted as an “inequality”? Because the policy objective is, quote, “to allow parents to stay in or join the labour market and reduce the gender gap in employment.” The policy objective is getting more women working more hours, not caring for children. But by presenting it as an equality issue currently to women’s disadvantage, a sympathetic audience is guaranteed – a reaction which a cry of “get thee out of the home and into a job, women!” would not enjoy.

Flexible working arrangements: Why does EIGE regard flexible working arrangements as important? Because “they can support people with caring responsibilities to enter the labour market, as full-time employees”. Different heading, same objective.

Lifelong learning: Education for its own sake? Education as a cultural pursuit which enriches one’s life quite independent of material issues? Not a bit of it. Quote, “lifelong learning can help women re-enter the labour market after career breaks due to care responsibilities”. Are you getting the message?

Informal long-term care of the elderly/infirm: More women than men are such carers. The concern of EIGE is that women are able to “maintain a healthy balance between their care duties and work life”. Once again it is the impact on the hours of paid work by women that is their concern.

Transport and public infrastructure: Surely this cannot be yet another “get women into work” issue – can it? Think again. The statistic they deploy is commuting time, implying that women’s shorter average commute is indicative of how women’s working hours are constrained by caring duties. Quote, “access to affordable and quality public infrastructure, such as….transportation, impacts women’s and men’s opportunities to balance paid work with other activities”.

Sorry to have laboured the point, but it’s an important point. The entirety of what is being presented to us as a touching concern over our “work-life balance” is actually a cover for getting women working more paid hours. Why would they want to do this? Because women are contributing only 27% of income tax to men’s 73%, of course. And, no, it’s not because of a few percent pay rate gap, it’s because men work over 50% more hours than women, and more men pay tax at the higher rate. Governments are very keen to tap into an under-taxed resource, namely women. Moreover, more working hours by women would push up GDP and GDP per capita, those indicators of economic health – and thereby potentially reduce the interest rates on our sovereign debt. You doubt it? Here is what Nicky Morgan, then Secretary of State for Education and one-time Minister for Women and Equalities had to say in 2015, Ref.[7],

 “Equalising women’s productivity and employment to the same level as men’s could add almost £600 billion to our economy, clearing a third of our national debt

(The figure cited only makes sense if accumulated over many years – total income tax revenue in 2018/19 was only £191 billion. Nevertheless the quote serves to prove the point regarding Government’s keenness to exploit women’s earning potential).

Does this help explain why globalist organisations promote these so-called “equality” agendas? It isn’t about equality, and it isn’t about being nice to women either. And it most certainly isn’t about work-life balance. Even more emphatically it isn’t about anything beneficial for children (whose true welfare isn’t even paid lip-service in these narratives).

What is being presented to us as social change to improve work-life balance is directly contrary to what the UK public actually want. How do I know? Because the British Social Attitudes Surveys tell us so. Here are some extracts from the 2019 survey, Ref.[8],

Question: “What is your view on how paid leave following the birth of a child should be divided between the mother and the father?”.

Of those who responded, 60% opined that the mother should take all or most of the paid leave, whilst no one (to within rounding) thought that the father should take all or most of the paid leave.

Question: “What is your view on the best way for a family with a child under school age to organise family and work life?”.

Of those who answered the question, 86% thought the father should work full time; 77% thought the father should work more hours than the mother, and, to within rounding, no one thought the father should be the stay-at-home parent, and no one thought the father should work only part-time if the mother was working full time.

Note that the above responses apply to both male and female respondents roughly equally.

So it is clear why the globalist-feminist-establishment has to present their attempts at social engineering falsely in the guise of an equality issue: it is because it runs directly counter to what people actually want.  

And that brings me to BIGI, the only one of the equality measures which is untainted by a political agenda. The motivation of the authors of Ref.[3] was, at least in part, a recognition of the shortcomings of GGGI. They write,

BIGI aims to provide a simplified and unbiased measure by focusing on key indicators that are relevant to all men and women in any society. BIGI focuses on key ingredients of a good life.

  • Healthy Life Expectancy (years expected to live in good health)
  • Basic education (literacy, and years of primary and secondary education)
  • Life satisfaction

By “unbiased” I expect they mean not slanted towards one sex, as was explicitly the case with GGGI. By “relevant to all men and women” I expect they mean avoiding measures skewed to the top 0.1% of society, which also mars the GGGI measure. The explicit inclusion of life expectancy, which is an indisputable aspect of inequality, also corrects the GGGI strategy of simply brushing men’s shorter average life span under the carpet.

Most importantly, BIGI is a signed measure in which a positive value indicates female disadvantage but a negative value indicates male disadvantage. BIGI therefore implicitly recognises that the genders could be “equal but different”. In this philosophy, advantages to one sex in one area may be offset and cancelled out by advantages to the other sex in another area. This is anathema to the mindset behind the EU’s GEI. It means that, of the three measures, BIGI is the only one that can, in principle, detect and quantify an overall disadvantage to males.

And it does.

From an analysis of 134 countries, Stoet and Geary, Ref.[3], conclude,

In 91 (68%) of the 134 countries, men were on average more disadvantaged than women, and in the other 43 (32%) countries, women were more disadvantaged than men. The international median of the BIGI is -0.017 (SD = 0.062), that is, nearly a two percent deviation from parity, favoring women.”

Great Britain was one of the countries where men were more disadvantaged based on the BIGI measure. In fact virtually all Western/Anglophone countries had a negative BIGI (men disadvantaged). The exception was Italy (which was marginal).

Stoet and Geary’s results are summarised in Figure 1 (which heads this post). The colour coding of the points (one for each country) indicates which of the three contributing items (healthy life span, educational opportunity and overall life satisfaction) was dominant. Where females are disadvantaged overall it was always education which was the dominant item. Where males were disadvantaged overall, any of the three items could be dominant, depending upon the country.

Figure 1 (which heads this post) plots BIGI against the Human Development Index, which is a UN measure, essentially of the degree of development of a country (i.e., poor country, low HDI; rich country, large HDI). What Figure 1 shows is an obvious correlation between gender inequality as measured by BIGI and the country’s development level as measured by HDI. Thus, net disadvantage to females is very strongly associated with poorer countries, whilst the most developed nations virtually all display net disadvantage to males.

There is an implication here that, as poorer nations continue to develop, net gender disadvantage to males – already the most common situation – will increasingly become near-universal.

  1. World Economic Forum, “Global Gender Gap Report 2018”,
  2. European Institute for Gender Equality, “Gender Equality Index”,
  3. Gijsbert Stoet and David C. Geary, “A simplified approach to measuring national gender inequality”, PLoS ONE 14(1): e0205349 (January 2019),
  4. European Institute for Gender Equality, “Gender Equality Index 2017: Methodological Report”,
  5. Crown Prosecution Service, “Violence Against Women and Girls Report 2018–19”,
  6. European Institute for Gender Equality, “Gender Equality Index, Work-Life Balance (2019)”,
  7. ConservativeHome web site, “Nicky Morgan MP: Our vision for gender equality – and helping women to fulfil their potential”, 26 September 2015.
  8. Curtice, J., Clery, E., Perry, J., Phillips M. and Rahim, N. (eds.) “British Social Attitudes 36, 2019 Edition”, NatCen 2019,


8 thoughts on “Measuring Gender Equality

  1. Atomisti

    “the Index rewards countries that reach the point where outcomes for women equal those for men, but it neither rewards nor penalizes cases in which women are outperforming men”

    In health it does reward when women outperform men, i.e. have more healthy years.

  2. Pingback: Equal retirement age is NOT equality – Human Rights And Wrongs

  3. Christophe Stévins

    Hello William,
    Very interesting analysis, as always.
    However i have to disagree on one point : the relentless push for more women into the workforce cannot come from “governments’ ” interest to promote a higher GDP. Do you SERIOUSLY think men have that power on the feminist movement ? If they’re pushing that hard, it must come from an urge from inside the feminist movement.
    Why would they do that ? Using women interpersonal power, the more women in ANY organisation, the more power to the feminist movement. Look at Uber, the US army, Google, Hollywood : you can always use women to cry rape or sexual harassment; then feminsts come and everybody is afraid. Then everybody listens and feminists become ever more powerful. I would say it’s a revolutionary objective because past a certain critical mass, they could become able to trigger a real revolution. Look at Mao’s cultural revolution, a feminist revolution would look that way, based on Metoo accusations. They’re trying to set the stage for that to happen. A 100% male organisation would be quite immune to that strategy, because women’s power come from interpersonal relations, for that to work women have to be physically present. that’s why they push for more women in the productive sphere.
    Considring that strategy, housewives are of no interest to them. Of no use at all.
    That’s the reason.

    1. William Collins Post author

      Globalist organisations promote feminism because their interests and immediate objectives happen to coincide. Which party is the useful idiot of the other is a moot point.

  4. Douglas Milnes

    Since the Global Gender Gap Report that drives the GGGI is produced by the WEF, and the WEF is a part of the UN, and the UN is a declared feminist organisation, it is hardly surprising that the GGGI measures “feminist equality” rather than public equality, or common-sense equality. Hence also why the GGGI measures the sex of the elected servants of the electorate, who are majority male, rather than the sex of those who elect the servants, who are majority female and have been (in the UK) for 90 years.

    I would think (I have not checked) that the European Institute for Gender Equality’s Gender Equality Index is based on the methodology formulated and promoted by CEDAW; the same one used by many international companies on their internal reporting. CEDAW is a body of the UN. EIGE was established with the aid of UNFem (now morphed into UNWomen).

    “More women than men are such carers.” Well, yes but with 42% of carers being men, the EIGE really has little excuse to pretend that caring is a gendered issue, let alone trying to turn it into a Marxist push to get all women into the labour market, where their social capital is minimised, often for not much financial gain.

    Unfortunately, if this information becomes generally known in poorer nations of the world, they are less likely to pull themselves out of poverty. After all, it is men who must do most of the pulling and they have a disincentive to do so, if it leads to them being second-class citizens.

  5. Groan

    I forget which of the first two produced Rwanda as the top vor gender equality, but that and other pretty silly high performing countries did generate incredulity. Rwanda of course achieved top billing through the simple process of having a genocide and subsequent wars which also gives it remarkably few men in its middle and older age cohorts . A number of other African countries witn similarly bloody histories also did well. For the same reason that given a big shortage of males females have to do the things they usually eschew.
    The less well known but more accurate measure deserves all the promotion it can get ant MRAs should constantly refer to it.
    I have always been interested in the Eurostat data. In that one finds that Sweden has one of the most “gender segregated” workforces and a fairly large gender pay gap. The Swedes commissioned research and demonstrated that this us the result of women and men being free to make choices, the former to work part time or low hours “full time” in secure public services the latter working in Swedens successful productive private sectors. Being feminist their policy solution has been to get Swedish men to work less. Other high pay gap high gender segregation nations include Germany, Netherlands, the UK in shortage nations that have developed large part time sectors, generous maternity leave and large public sectors.
    In terms of gender diversity in the workforce, a tiny gender pay gap , and far higher proportions of women senior executives Italy is by far the EU leader. Funny feminists never refer to Italy as a “model” . Could it be because, that along with Poland and other similarly more equal nations , there is not a wide choice of part time work, limited maternity leave and a much greater role of smaller businesses unable to offer “family friendly” hours. In short in those countries women have to work like men.

    1. Michael McVeigh

      Rwanda is often held up as the country with the highest percentage of female politicians, but I am led to believe that in reality, the President is all powerful and is male.


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