What is gender inequality? It is not easy to give a sole answer to this question since gender inequality is a multi-dimensional concept. According to A. Parziale, gender inequality is defined as “allowing people different opportunities due to perceived differences based solely on issues of gender” (Parziale, 2008: 977). Although anyone can be exposed to gender-based inequality this issue is almost always addressed as peculiar to women (Parziale, 2008: 977).
As it is stated in the previous paragraph, since defining gender inequality is not an easy task, measuring and analysing gender differences in different countries require to take into account multifaceted structure of this phenomenon. Currently, there are two indexes which are widely used by researchers to make comparisons among countries. The first one is the Gender Inequality Index (GII) which is calculated by United Nations Development Programme and the second one is the Global Gender Gap Index introduced by World Economic Forum in 2006. The Gender Inequality Index indicates a percentage loss to potential human development due to deficiencies in the dimensions included in the index (United Nations Development Programme, 2013). So, higher values of this index show lower achievement. The Global Gender Gap Index compares national gender gaps on economic, political, education and health-based criteria and provides country rankings. The Global Gender Gap Index takes the values between 0 and 1 and while the lowest score, 0, means complete inequality the highest score, 1, means complete equality (World Economic Forum, 2013: 5, 6). So, for the Global Gender Gap Index, higher values imply more equality between men and women.
After this brief explanation about the two indexes, let’s have a look at the rankings of the European Union countries and Turkey according to these indexes.
Table 1 shows the Gender Inequality Index 2012 which is calculated by the United Nations Development Programme. Unfortunately, the loss to potential human development due to gender inequalities is highest in Turkey and Turkey is the last country in terms of gender equality within the European Union countries.
According to the Global Gender Gap Index 2013 (Table 2), Turkey is again placed on the last among the European Union countries and the rank of Turkey is 120 within 136 countries.
When these two indexes are taken into account it becomes obvious that Turkish women still experience much more inequalities than the women who live in a European Union country. Without no doubt, changing present situation of Turkish women is not an easy process and in my view, women should take on more responsibility than men in order to change current circumstances in favour of themselves.
Parziale, A. (2008) “Gender Inequality and Discrimination”, Encyclopeadia of Business Ethics and Society, Editor: R. W. Kolb, UK, pp.977-981.
United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) (2013) Gender Inequality Index 2012, http://hdr.undp.org/en/statistics/gii.
World Economic Forum (WEF) (2013) Global Gender Gap Report 2013-The Global Gender Gap Index 2013, http://www.weforum.org/reports/global-gender-gap-report-2013.
|Table 1: Gender Inequality Index (2012)|
|Source: UNDP, Gender Inequality Index 2012, http://hdr.undp.org/en/statistics/gii|
|Table 2: Global Gender Gap Index (2013)|
|Source: WEF, The Global Gender Gap Index 2013, http://www.weforum.org/reports/global-gender-gap-report-2013|