The Gender Index – Gender Inequality in Israel
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The Gender Index – Gender Inequality in Israel
The Gender Index is a multidimensional measurement tool that monitors changes in the level of gender equality over time. It is an index for the systematic monitoring of trends of gender inequality in Israel.
The Index was developed by the Center for the Advancement of Women in the Public Sphere (WIPS) at the Van Leer Jerusalem Institute, headed by Prof. Naomi Chazan and Prof. Hanna Herzog. The Index was created by Dr. Hagar Tzameret Kertcher.
The Gender Index StructureThe purpose of the Index is to examine the level of gender inequality in Israel over time. It presents the inequality between women and men in different areas and dimensions of life over several years, as well as providing an overall score for the level of gender inequality in Israel today based on an aggregation of several (currently eight) dimensions. This is its distinguishing feature and makes it a potential policy compass for decision-makers and governmental and public bodies in Israel, as well as a guide for civil society and women’s organizations.
The unique contribution of the Gender Index compared to other indices in Israel and the world is that it systematically examines data in different areas over several years and assigns an overall score. This allows the Index to examine the developmental directions of each area and each component, while simultaneously presenting a comprehensive picture of the status of gender inequality in Israel, so that the whole is greater than the sum of its parts. The Index also takes into account many aspects of gender inequality, some of which – such as the gender inequality index in the Arab community- are not included in other indices, because it was developed out of a thorough understanding of the Israeli context in reference to that inequality.
At this stage, the index monitors gender inequality in eight dimensions (labor market, violence, periphery, Arab society, poverty, education, political representation, health), based on a total of 31 indicators that measure change in these dimensions over time. All indicators were statistically filtered so that they could be synthesized into a single index. The Index will be updated annually in order to monitor changes in the state of gender relations in Israel. This measurement currently presents eight points in time from 2004 to 2011.
The way to build an index was first selecting and validating a group of indicators of equality from the array of existing equality indexes; and then fixing equal weights for each of the indexes selected. This approach has the advantage of being based on existing data, which makes the resulting index easy to compute (Harvey, Blakely, Tepperman, 1990). The indicators are variables measured in a consistent and identical way every year by the same bodies: the Central Bureau of Statistics, the National Insurance Institute and the Knesset Research and Information Center. The method that serves to measure the weights for each source of inequality at a certain point in time, so as to give the weights an empirical basis. The system for computing the Gender Index is as follows: data selection and preparation, data validation, data synthesis and index calculationHarvey, Edward B., John H. Blakely, and Lorne Tepperman, 1990. “Toward an Index of Gender Equality,” Social Indicators Research 22: 299–317 .
Dozens of indicators were found, checked for correlation and ran through a factor analysis to test their degree of relevance to the conceptual framework of gender inequality. The year 2004 was the first year for which data was available for all the indicators that met those criteria, and that is why measurement began in 2004. All of the indicators in each of the eight dimensions that comprise the Index were measured and averaged separately, creating a baseline for monitoring the gender inequality in each dimension separately. For each dimension the score was squared, they were added up and divided by eight to reach the general gender index for any given year. This formula, which includes squaring the average value of each dimension, is based on the formula for the OECD’s SIGI. This way, a rise in the inequality in one dimension is less obscured by a drop in the inequality of another dimension, and this method also assumes that the deprivation that results from the inequality does not grow linearly, and increases the index’s fluctuation compared to the fluctuation of its dimensions.
The results show that in the years 2004-2007 gender inequality deepened: it grew by 13.6% and stemmed from the expansion of the inequality in five dimensions: the labor market, political representation, violence, periphery and health. In two dimensions there was stagnation: poverty and education. In the years 2008-2009 there was some improvement: inequality dropped by 8.3% from its peak of 2007. In 2010 inequality grew again as a result of the worsening of five dimensions, especially violence against women and a growth of the gender gaps in the labor market, so that inequality in 2009-2010 grew by 4.1%. In 2011 there was a 5.8% drop in inequality thanks to an improvement in the dimensions of the labor force and violence against women.
The Gender Index is intended to be published annually and its dimensions are to be expanded to assess the changes so that the Gender Index becomes a tool for ongoing monitoring and a catalyst for the creation of new data series for which gender-disaggregated data is not yet being collected.
The results of the Gender index in Israel 2004-2011Diagram1
Rates of Change in each Year Compared to the Previous YearDiagram2