Alternative Measures of Gender Inequality in Human Development

Stanton, Elizabeth (2007). "Alternative Measures of Gender Inequality in Human Development" Paper presented at the 4th annual conference of the HDCA, 18-20 September 2007, New York, USA.

This and other articles in the same special issue (Dijkstra 2006; Klasen 2006; Schüler 2006) document the demand for gendered measures of human development and describe a proliferation of measures of gender inequality, but GDI, the most widely published measure, receives little attention. In this paper, I argue that the cause of this disregard is GDI’s failures in the realm of common-sense or intuitive explanatory power. I argue that the GDI is counter-intuitive in at least three ways: first, in what it is measuring; second, in the way it is measuring it; and finally, in the results of this measurement. I then articulate and demonstrate a series of alternatives to GDI as currently formulated.
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