Poverty, gender and development

Gender inequality is a serious obstacle to human development. Despite notable global progress in the situation of women and girls since 1990, equality is a long way away, especially in some African and Asian countries.

In 2015, jobs in services prevailed over jobs in agriculture on a world level, although the data for sub-Saharan Africa is unavailable. Women’s participation in the labour market is less than men’s in every country in the world (50% as opposed to 72%),  but with an interesting variable which needs exploring: in fact, it is not the women of Europe nor those of the richer countries with a generally urban settlement who participate most in the labour force, but rather those in sub-Saharan Africa –generally rural- in which 70% of women work as opposed to 76% men. Women in arab countries show a lower rate (22%).

To reflect the differences in the distribution of men and women’s achievements, there are different indexes whose number has increased over the past years. The most used complex indexes are the Index of Human Development by Gender (IHDG), which is obtained by dividing the Index of Human Development –IHD- for women by that for men, and the Index of Gender Inequality (IGI), which measures the cost to human development of gender inequality, by integrating information on five chosen indicators for different stages of women’s lives, and also includes the number of men and women in the labour force.

Both indexes vary between 0 and 1, the average values for 2015 being 0,938 0,443, respectively for the IHDG and IGI. Norway and the Central African Republic are at the extremes of the classification in both indexes (respectively 0,053 and 0,648 for the IHDG, and 0,938 and 0,443 for the IGI).