Gender Inequality: An Assessment of World Trends in Economic, Political, Health, and Educational Gender Differences

Shawn F. Dorius, Pennsylvania State University

Using population adjusted cross-national data, this research documents trends in global gender inequality from 1970 to 2000 using indicators covering economic, political, educational and health domains. Absolute gender inequality increased among paid adult workers, surviving adults, literate adults, total years of school attainment and life expectancy over the period measured. When measured by gender ratios and gender gini’s, relative inequality between females and males decreased for all indicators except life expectancy. There was, however, considerable variation in the rate of change among the indicators for which gender inequality decreased. By the year 2000 global gender inequality was highest among national legislators (gini=.704) and lowest in life expectancy at birth (gini=.019). Population growth simulations suggest that the effect of rapidly declining within-nation inequality on global gender inequality has been partially offset by rapid growth in countries where gender inequality is high.

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Presented in Session 45: Comparative Perspectives on Gender Inequality