If we have to take the gender disparity issues seriously we must take the global data into account and keep abreast of professional data from the dedicated team of the UN Women, WHO, and other such reliable sources of information.

If we have to take the gender disparity issues seriously we must take the global data into account and keep abreast of professional data from the dedicated team of the UN Women, WHO, and other such reliable sources of information.

The Gender Inequality Index (GII) reflects women’s disadvantage in three dimensions - reproductive health, empowerment, and the labor market - for as many countries as data of reasonable quality allow. This index shows the loss in human development due to inequality between female and male achievements in these dimensions.

The Gender Inequality Index is a composite measure reflecting inequality in achievements between women and men in three dimensions: reproductive health, empowerment, and the labor market.

                                                                 GENDER INEQUALITY INDEX

The Gender Development Index is an index designed to measure gender equality. GDI, together with the Gender Empowerment Measure, was introduced in 1995 in the Human Development Report written by the United Nations Development Program. These measurements aimed to add a gender-sensitive dimension to the Human Development Index. The first measurement that they created, as a result, was the GDI. The GDI is defined as a distribution-sensitive measure that accounts for human development.

The Human Development Index (HDI) is a three-indicator index that assesses progress in human development but ignores gender inequalities. Therefore, the GDI index is used to investigate gender differences in achievement. The GDI, like the HDI, assesses men’s and women's achievements in the same three dimensions and variables.

Let us briefly try to understand what Human Development Index (HDI) is

The HDI was established to emphasize individuals - or, more precisely, on their opportunities to realize satisfying work and lives. Evaluating a country’s potential for individual human development provides a supplementary metric for evaluating a country’s level of development besides considering standard economic growth statistics, such as gross domestic product (GDP).

The Human Development Index (HDI) is a statistic developed and compiled by the United Nations in the year 1990, to measure various countries’ levels of social and economic development. It is composed of four principal areas of interest: mean years of schooling, expected years of schooling, life expectancy at birth, and Gross National Income (GNI) per capita.

This index is a tool used to follow changes in development levels over time and compare the development levels of different countries.

To summarize:

  • The Human Development Index (HDI) is a measurement system used by the United Nations to evaluate the level of individual human development in each country.
  • It was introduced by the U.N. in 1990.
  • The HDI was created to emphasize that people and their capabilities should be the ultimate criteria for assessing the development of a country, not economic growth alone.
  • The HDI uses components such as average annual income and educational expectations to rank and compare countries.
  • The HDI has been criticized by social advocates for not representing a broad-enough measure of the quality of life and by economists for providing little additional useful information beyond simpler measures of the economic standard of living.

How Is the HDI Measured?

The HDI is a summary measurement of basic achievement levels in human development. The computed HDI of a country is an average of indexes of each of the life aspects that are examined: knowledge and understanding, a long and healthy life, and an acceptable standard of living. Each of the components is normalized to a scale between 0 and 1, and then the geometric mean of the three components is calculated.

  • The health aspect of the HDI is measured by the life expectancy, as calculated at the time of birth, in each country, and normalized so that this component is equal to 0 when life expectancy is 20 and equal to 1 when life expectancy is 85.
  • Education is measured on two levels: the mean years of schooling for residents of a country, and the expected years of schooling that a child has at the average age for starting school. These are each separately normalized so that both 15 mean years of schooling and 18 years of expected schooling equal 1, and a simple mean of the two is calculated.
  • The economic metric chosen to represent the standard of living is GNI per capita based on purchasing power parity (PPP), a common metric used to reflect average income. The standard of living is normalized so that it is equal to 1 when GNI per capita is $75,000 and equal to 0 when GNI per capita is $100

The final HDI score for each country is calculated as a geometric mean of the three components by taking the cube root of the product of the normalized component scores.

There are limitations of HDI. It is a simplification and an admittedly limited evaluation of human development. The HDI does not specifically reflect quality-of-life factors, such as empowerment movements or overall feelings of security. In recognition of these facts, the U.N. Human Development Report Office (HDRO) provides additional composite indices to evaluate other life aspects, including inequality issues such as gender disparity or racial inequality.

Is a High HDI Good or Bad?

The higher the HDI, the better. A high HDI essentially means that the country in question offers a generally high standard of living, with decent healthcare, education, and opportunities to earn money.


Which Countries Have the Highest HDI?

In the latest HDI ranking, from 2022, Switzerland finished first with an HDI value of 0.962. Norway, Iceland, Hong Kong, and Australia rounded out the top five. Meanwhile, the United States was ranked 21st with an HDI value of 0.921.


The Bottom Line

The United Nations Human Development Index (HDI) seeks to quantify a country's level of prosperity based on both economic and non-economic factors. Non-economic factors include life expectancy and educational attainment. Economic factors are measured by gross national income (GNI) per capita. While the UN argues that the HDI improves our understanding of relative well-being around the world, economists have criticized the index as overly simplistic and flawed in its methodology.