The Social Watch groups, organized on an ad hoc basis, have a focal point in each country that is responsible for promoting the initiative; submitting a national report for the yearly publication; undertaking lobbying initiatives before the national authorities to hold them accountable for the policies in place regarding the agreed commitments; promoting a dialogue about the national social development priorities and developing an active inclusive strategy to bring other groups into the national group.
The international secretariat of Social Watch is hosted by the Third World Institute in Montevideo, Uruguay .
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Social Watch and Gender Equality
Social Watch publishes an annual indicator on women’s rights, the Talk:Gender Equality Index. The 2007 Gender Equity Index saw Sweden , Finland and Rwanda in the first three places. The 2008 Gender Equity Index of Social Watch was launched in New York during the meeting of the Commission of the Status of Women. It introduces recent evolution of the index by country and comes to the conclusion that half of the world women live in countries where there is no progress on gender equity.
The Gender Equity Index (GEI) measures the gap between women and men in education, the economy and political empowerment. Social Watch computes a value for the gender gap in each of the three areas in a scale from 0 (when for example no women is educated at all and all men are) to 100 (perfect equality). The GEI, in turn, is the simple average of the three dimensions: in Education, GEI looks at the gender gap in enrolment at all levels and in literacy; economic participation computes the gaps in income and employment and empowerment measures the gaps in highly qualified jobs, parliament and senior executive positions.
The 2012 Gender Equity Index
The five levels according to which the index measures the gender gap are: “critical”, “very low”, “low”, “medium” and “acceptable”. No country in the world has reached GEI 90 points or more, meaning that the achievements made by women all over the world towards equity in education are still very far from making an impact on their having a fair share in the economy or in political power, as none of the 154 countries considered in the study has narrowed the gender gap to an “acceptable” level.
The GEI 2012 has computed a world value for education of 71 (or “low”, according to the index categories), while for economic participation computed 42 (“very low”) and for political empowerment a meagre 17 (“critical”).
Women’s participation in the labour force is significantly less compared to men. They have substantially lower salaries for the same type of work and a higher percentage of women are employed in vulnerable or irregular jobs. But more importantly, as the index shows, the underachievement in economic participation and empowerment for women is verified in each of the 154 countries studied in the 2012 issue of the index.GEI2012
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.
Through this procedure, the GEI 2012 makes also clear that the lack of equity cannot be justified by a lack of resources: the GEI mapping and that of each of its components show that, regardless of income levels, each country can reduce gender disparity through adequate policies.
- Mongolia narrowed the gap putting legislation into force
- Brazil reached a low score in political empowerment, although the president is a woman
- Social Watch Italy : “The economic crisis could represent an opportunity to change”
- Countries such as Mongolia (81), Rwanda (77), Gender Equality in the Gender Equality in the Philippines (76) and Nicaragua (74) have reached relatively high levels of gender equity, even when many women and men live in poverty. On the other hand, countries with an elevated income, such as Japan (57 GEI points), Turkey and Saudi Arabia (37 GEI points) present huge gaps between men and women. The GEI 2012 stresses that these figures show that equality in the structure of opportunities in a society is a goal that must and can be pursued regardless of economic power.
- When considering the gender gap in terms of regions, the index finds that Europe and North America, both with an average GEI of 73 points (“low”), are heading the chart. The index stresses, however, that not all of the European countries are doing well in closing their gender gap. Albania (55) and Turkey (45), for example, score below the global average, which is 57 (“very low”).
- The East Asia and Pacific (69), Latin America and the Caribbean (68) and Central Asia (63) are also in the “low” level. Sub-Saharan Africa (52) and the Middle East and North Africa (43) are both in the “very low” category, and both below the global average, while South Asia is at the very bottom of the chart with 39 points (“critical”).
- Out of the 154 countries computed, those achieving a better score are Norway (89), Finland (88) Iceland , Sweden (both with 87), Denmark (84), New Zealand (82), and Mongolia and Spain (both with 81), all of them with a “medium” GEI.
- The five counties in the worst global situation are the Republic of Congo (29), Niger (26), Chad (25), Yemen (24) and Afghanistan (15), all of them with “critical” GEI.