Understanding the Gender Gap Index

Considering multiple perspective in order to avoid oversimplifying the issue


December 06, 2022

  • Rei Naka


◆The Gender Gap Index (GGI) published by the World Economic Forum (WEF) has been attracting attention. In this report, after grasping the history of index compilation by the WEF, we examine the methodology of the GGI in detail, and point out the significance and limitations of the index in considering gender equality. Then, we conclude this report by presenting some implications that we have obtained through unpacking the GGI.

◆The GGI is significant in the sense that it conveys simple messaging by visualizing gender disparities based on quantitative data. Yet the lack of the important perspective of capturing gender diversity and multilayered disparities can be pointed out as a limitation of the GGI in considering gender equality. Sixteen years have passed since publication of the index began, and as issues surrounding gender equality are becoming more complex and diverse, the GGI’s methodological limitations are how to respond to changes in contemporary discussions on gender equality and how to justify the validity of maintaining the continuity of the index.

◆In Japan, where improvement in GGI is not seen, gender inequality should be considered to be extremely serious. In Japan, GGI can be said to be helpful in the sense that it can show how the situation surrounding gender equality is stagnant. It is suggested, however, that the focus on the GGI alone may lead to the pitfall of oversimplification of the issue of gender inequality. It is necessary to recognize gender inequality in various aspects that cannot be captured in the overall index.

◆For policymakers, the media, and other users of the GGI, it is essential to understand the significance and limitations of the index and use it as one of various reference materials. In order to promote efforts toward the achievement of gender equality, not only quantitative studies, but also a variety of studies, including qualitative studies, must be considered from multiple perspectives.

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