Measuring Gender Equality
Gender equality matters for its intrinsic and instrumental value. Gender equality matters intrinsically because the ability to live a life of one’s choosing is a basic human right and should be available to anyone, regardless of one’s sex or gender. Gender equality also matters because it contributes to economic efficiency and the achievement of other desirable development outcomes.
Gender equality can contribute to economic development in three ways. First, it can remove barriers that prevent women from accessing edu- cation, economic opportunities, and productive inputs that generate eco- nomic gains. Second, women’s gains promote other desired development outcomes, such as increased economic productivity, as well as child nutri- tion, health, and education, which improve the welfare of future generations. Third, greater equality of female participation in community and political organizations leads to more inclusive and representative institutions, which contributes to development.
As awareness of the importance of gender equality grows among researchers, development practitioners, and policy makers, so does the demand to better understand the patterns of progress and the nature and sources of persistent gaps. This information is fundamental to ensure that the limited resources are channeled to areas where progress has been harder to achieve and to priority areas of interventions. The increased availability of disaggregated statistics for men and women on many key development indicators is at the same time a reflection of, and fuel for, the growing
interest in evidence-based, gender-sensitive policy making. However, access to data in itself is not enough to ensure better understanding of the magni- tude, dynamics, and drivers of gender inequality, especially in the context of limited capacity, and even more limited resources. There is also a clear need for standard approaches, common methodologies, and analytical tools that facilitate the use of these data for systematic and comprehensive diagnostic work.
ADePT Gender is just such a tool. Building on the framework proposed by the World Development Report (WDR) 2012: Gender Equality and Development, ADePT Gender is designed to guide the broad and diverse gender and development community through the complexity of the diagnostics of gender inequality and its dynamics. The intuitive software consists of two parts. The first part uses simple statistics and tabulations to profile the extent and dynamics of gender inequalities across three dimensions— namely endowments, economic opportunities, and agency. The second part focuses on gender gaps in economic opportunities by analyzing gender disadvantages in the labor market and, in particular, wage inequality. Its focus is on being user-friendly and comprehensive, although not exhaustive.
This manual provides a guide to working with ADePT Gender with a particular emphasis on helping the wide community of users to interpret the large volume of statistical information generated by the software. Contrary to other ADePT modules, it does not detail the mechanisms behind gender differences in outcomes, as these are extensively covered in the WDR 2012 and in its companion reports.