100 countries have better gender equity than the US, says watchdog organization

In terms of gender equity United States is far behind its neighbour Canada, and ranks also in a worse position than half a hundred nations, among them the majority of the European countries, seven Latin American countries an many of others of the developing South.

This is made apparent by the publication of the Gender Equity Index (GEI) 2012, elaborated by Social Watch, an international network of civil society organizations with members in over 70 countries in all regions.

The GEI prepared annually by Social Watch measures the gap between women and men in education the economy and political empowerment. The index is an average of the inequalities in the three dimensions. In literacy, it examines the gender gap in enrolment at all levels; economic participation computes the gaps in income and employment; empowerment measures the gaps in highly qualified jobs, parliament and senior executive positions.

The best and worst 15 countries in the GEI 2012

Social Watch measures the gap between women and men, not their wellbeing. Thus, a country in which young men and women have equal access to the university receives a value of 100 on this particular indicator. In the same fashion, a country in which boys and girls are equally barred from completing primary education would also be awarded a value of 100. This does not mean that the quality of education in both cases is the same. It just establishes that, in both cases girls are not less educated than boys.

With 72 points, United States ranks among those countries with LOW GEI, remarkably far behind its northern neighbour Canada, which presents 80 points.

United States, in the 48th place of the global ranking among 154 measured nations, is also behind several Latin American countries, such as Trinidad and Tobago (78 points), Panama (76), Uruguay (76), Argentina, Costa Rica and Nicaragua (those three with 74), and Paraguay (73 points), and it is in the same step than Brazil, Chile and the Dominican Republic.

Other developing countries as Mongolia (81 points), South Africa (79), Rwanda and Namibia (both with 77), Philippines (76), Kazakhstan (75), Kyrgyzstan and Botswana (both with 73 points) are in a better condition than United States, while Lesotho, Cape Verde and Brunei Darussalam rank in the same position.

United States’ 72 points rank that country far behind those which lead the score, such as Norway, Finland, Iceland, Sweden, Denmark, New Zealand, Spain and Mongolia, all of them with a minimum of 81 points that places them as countries with a MEDIUM GEI.

The five levels according to which the GEI measures the gender gap are: CRITICAL, VERY LOW, LOW, MEDIUM AND ACCEPTABLE, It should be noted that no country has reached 90 points or more, meaning that no country has yet reached the ACCEPTABLE level.

The only dimension in which United States reaches an acceptable value is education (100 points), while in empowerment and economic participation the country’s performance is less praiseworthy: 47 and 69 respectively (VERY LOW and LOW).

At a world level, the countries that have achieved a better score are Norway (89), Finland (88), Iceland, Sweden (both with 87) and Denmark (84), which places them as countries with a MEDIUM GEI. 

Out of the 168 countries computed by the 2012 GEI those five in the worst global situation are Congo Rep (29), Niger (26), Tchad (25), Yemen (24) and Afghanistan (15).

Social Watch members are spread across all regions. The network fights for the eradication of poverty and its causes, the elimination of all forms of discrimination and racism and to ensure an equitable distribution of wealth and the realization of human rights.

For a detailed description of methodology and sources see http://www.socialwatch.org/node/14365