2009 Social Institutions and Gender Index
The Social Institutions and Gender Index (SIGI) is a composite indicator of gender equality, introduced by the OECD Development Centre. It solely focuses on social institutions that have an impact on the equality between men and women. Social institutions comprise norms, values and attitudes that exist in a society in relation to women.
Social institutions comprise norms, values and attitudes. They often manifest themselves in traditions and cultural practices that are performed by the members of a society. Social institutions have often been in existence for centuries and thus reflect the deeply enshrined normative value system of people. They can be reflected in the formal institutional framework of a society (e.g constitutions, laws, legal mechanisms). In many countries, however, social institutions constitute a separate value system that exists apart from the formal institutional framework. Especially in developing countries where formal mechanisms and the rule of law are weak, social institutions have a large impact on the social and economic life in a country.
Social institutions are particularly relevant in the area of gender equality. In many countries, the empowerment of women is a relatively new phenomenon that stands in stark contrast to the traditional way of life. Several examples show how social institutions can obstruct or completely annihilate formal legislation intended to favor gender equality.
Construction of the Indicator
SIGI is based on a selection of indicators from the Gender, Institutions and Development (GID) Database. It specifically draws on the GID's social institutions variables that are grouped into five categories or subindices: Family Code, Physical Integrity, Civil Liberties, Son Preference and Ownership Rights. The index is an unweighted average of these 5 subindices and measures on a scale from 0 to 1 the level of gender inequality in social institutions (higher levels indicate greater inequality). Each term in the SIGI formula is squared to allow for partial compensation.
Use of the Indicator
Econometric analysis using the SIGI have shown the significant impact of social institutions on gender equality outcomes. For example, higher levels of gender inequality in social institutions are strongly correlated to lower participation of women in paid labor. Moreover, higher levels of inequality are not necessarily associated with per capita income. Some high-income countries in the Middle East and North Africa region, for example, have high levels of gender inequality. Education, on the other hand, seems to be a strong promoter of women's rights. The higher the percentage of women who can read and write, the lower the discrimination they suffer in social institutions.
Build your own ranking!In my.genderindex.org, you can calculate your own ranking by including the indicators of your choice into the gender index, and then visualise each country's ranking in your index on the world map.
The SIGI and the MDGs
Could social institutions and gender inequality be the missing link to achieving the Millennium Development Goals?
Read more by accessing some preliminary draft findings.
Publications mentioning the SIGI
Participate in the debate!
- How can transforming social institutions help pave the way towards gender equality? Give your examples and share your stories of how it has been possible to change social institutions that discriminate against women in your communities and countries, and what the impact has been!
- Family Code (Early marriage; Polygamy; Parental authority; Inheritance)
- Physical Integrity (FGM; Violence against women)
- Son Preference (Missing Women)
- Civil liberties (Freedom of movement; Freedom of dress)
- Ownership rights (Access to land; Access to bank loans; Access to property)
- Gender, Institutions and Development Data Base
- GID Variables: Family Code
- GID Variables: Social Institutions
- Johannes Jütting, Christain Morrisson, Jeff Dayton Johnson and Denis Drechsler (2008): Measuring Gender (In)Equality: The OECD Gender, Institutions and Development Data Base, Journal of Human Development, Volume 9, Issue 1 March 2008 , pages 65 - 86.
- Gita Sen (2007): Informal Institutions and Gender Equality, in: Jütting, Drechsler, Bartsch and de Soysa (eds.): Informal Institutions - How Social Norms Help or Hinder Development, OECD: Paris.