Our directory of things of interest

University Directory

Gender inequality

  • Written by  Benjamin Hennig
  • Published in Mapping
Gender inequality Benjamin Hennig
19 Apr
2015
Benjamin Hennig illustrates global gender inequality with the Gender Inequality Index Value

The unequal treatment of individuals based on their gender is a deeply rooted problem in most societies. It started becoming an important part of academic research in the 1980s. The issue of gender inequality also became, in various measures, part of the Human Development Index (HDI), the annual report by the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP), and was eventually integrated as the Gender Inequality Index (GII) in the 2010 report. It is designed to measure the loss of achievement within a country caused by gender inequality.

According to the report, discrimination and under-representation of women in health, education, politics, work and other parts of life has repercussions for the development of their capabilities and their freedom of choice. Four of these aspects form the index which puts them in a globally measurable and comparable form: reproductive health is measured by the maternal mortality ratio and adolescent birth rates; female empowerment is measured by proportion of parliamentary seats occupied by females; education is expressed by the proportion of adult females and males aged 25 years and older with at least some secondary education; the economic status is included as labour market participation and measured by labour force participation rate of female and male populations aged 15 years and older. Using these aspects, the index shows human development costs of gender inequality. A higher GII value relates to more disparities between females and males within a country.

While gender inequality remains a problem even in the more equal societies, it is a major barrier to human development in others, with the worst performing in the two highest quintiles of the data (having index values of 0.45 and above) covering a substantial part of the global population, most notably the African continent and the Indian subcontinent.

The cartogram above shows this in its real human dimensions. The map is a gridded population cartogram in which every square of land is resized according to the total number of people living in that space. The transformed map therefore shows the gender inequality index on an equal population projection, emphasizing where and how many people live in the more equal or unequal societies. This highlights the high need for action combating gender gaps for a large share of the world’s population in order to overcome systematic disadvantages of women.

Benjamin Hennig is a senior research fellow in the School of Geography and the Environment at the University of Oxford. He is involved in the Worldmapper project and maintains the visualisation blog www.viewsoftheworld.net.

This article was published in the April 2015 edition of Geographical Magazine

Related items

NEVER MISS A STORY - Follow Geographical on Social

Want to stay up to date with breaking Geographical stories? Join the thousands following us on Twitter, Facebook and Instagram and stay informed about the world.

More articles in PLACES...

Water

A new device, developed at ETH Zurich, could help communities…

Forests

A new initiative to save mangrove forests in the Dominican…

Deserts

The semi-autonomous Russian republic of Kalmykia sits at the forefront…

Cities

In Mogadishu, the troubled capital of Somalia, tentative moves towards…

Mountains

Researchers have predicted the birth of a new mountain range,…

Forests

Archaeological work around Lake Malawi suggests that humans manipulated the…

Water

Maida Bilal risked all to prevent contractors building a dam…

Places

Writer and photographer John Gilbey needed a cheap way of…

Water

An EU project has revealed the extent of river fragmentation…

Mapping

A new, double-sided world map projection seeks to minimise the…

Water

 Water scarcity is predicted to rise – two experts share…

Mountains

New collaborative research from the University of Oxford and the…

Places

Conceived during the late 1800s, Letchworth Garden City was the…

Places

Multiple failed attempts to build on a patch of land…

Deserts

New 'deep learning' technology is helping to identify trees in…

Places

The land around the Kinabatangan River in the state of…

Places

Highlights from the column that keeps you connected with the…

Places

At the end of a perplexing and thought-provoking year, we…

Places

The city of Mosul is slowly putting itself back together…