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Gender Social Norms Index

Topics Covered: Role of women and related issues.

Gender Social Norms Index

What to study?

For Prelims: About the index and key findings.

For Mains: Concerns expressed and ways to address them.

Context: The first Gender Social Norms Index was recently released by the UN Development Programmme (UNDP).

 About the index:

  • This index measures how social beliefs obstruct gender equality in areas like politics, work, and education, and contains data from 75 countries, covering over 80 percent of the world’s population.
  • The index found new clues to the invisible barriers women face in achieving equality – potentially forging a path forward to breaking through the so-called “glass ceiling”.

Key findings:

  1. Despite decades of progress closing the equality gap between men and women, close to 90 percent of men and women hold some sort of bias against women.
  2. Almost half of those polled feel that men are superior political leaders.
  3. More than 40 per cent believe they make better business executives and are more entitled to jobs when the economy is lagging.
  4. Moreover, 28 per cent think it is justified for a man to beat his wife.
  5. The analysis also highlighted a bias shift in some 30 countries, revealing that while some show improvements, attitudes in others appear to have worsened in recent years – signaling that progress cannot be taken for granted.


Why enormous “power gaps” continue between men and women in economies, political systems and corporations?

Despite tangible progress in closing gender inequalities in developmental areas, such as education and health as well as in removing legal barriers to political and economic participation, there exist power gaps.

  • This is because while men and women vote at similar rates, only 24 percent of parliamentary seats worldwide are held by women and there are only 10 female heads of government out of 193 Member States.
  • Furthermore, women are paid less than men working the same jobs and are much less likely to be in senior positions.

Way ahead:

We have come a long way in recent decades to ensure that women have the same access to life’s basic needs as men. But, “gender gaps are still all too obvious in other areas, particularly those that challenge power relations and are most influential in actually achieving true equality”.

  • Therefore, world leaders to accelerate action to meet global targets on gender equality. 
  • Governments and institutions should utilize new policies to change these discriminatory beliefs and practices through education, and by raising awareness and changing incentives.

Facts for Prelims:

  1. 2020 marks the 25th anniversary of the Beijing Declaration and Platform for Action (Beijing+25), the most visionary agenda on women’s empowerment to date.
  2. Few important women’s rights demonstrations: “#MeToo, #NiUnaMenos, #TimesUp. #UnVioladorEnTuCamino.

Insta Link:

Prelims Link:

  1. Various such indices and who released them.
  2. Key findings.
  3. Campaigns associated.
  4. Beijing +25.

Mains Link:

Discuss the significance of UNDP Gender Social Norms Index ans its key findings.

Sources: Indian Express.