A UK sub-national gender equality index: challenges in developing a conceptual framework

Research output: Book/ReportReport


Gender inequality remains a persistent problem in the UK, affecting multiple
dimensions of women and men’s lives. Mounting evidence of neighbourhood
effects on socio-economic outcomes suggests that gender inequalities are
experienced differently across local areas. For potential policy interventions to
be effective, we need to understand the spatial variations in gender inequality
in the UK.
To date, no sub-national measurement of gender equality exists for the UK. For
this reason, the Global Institute for Women’s Leadership (GIWL) is leading a
project to develop a new index. This index will provide a benchmarking tool to
compare levels of gender equality across local areas, aiding further research and
targeted policy intervention.
In this context, GIWL organised a stakeholder workshop to consult experts
and potential users on the conceptual framework of this new UK gender
equality index. Participants were divided into focus groups reflecting six
relevant domains of gender inequality, previously identified through a literature
and policy review: Power & Participation, Educations & Skills, Economic
resources, Unpaid work & Care, Health & Wellbeing, and Violence. This
policy brief reports on the results of the workshop.
The brief first introduces the background of the project and the aims of the
workshop in more detail. After this, the findings of the workshop are presented,
starting with a discussion of the opportunities and challenges involved in the
development of a UK gender equality index, as identified by participants. The
five overlapping challenges relate to: intersectionality, data availability and
quality, relative vs. absolute levels of equality, the level of measurement and
the aggregation of scores. Following this, the policy brief presents the concrete
measures to include within the index, as proposed by participants. On the basis
of the findings, the paper finishes by formulating six guiding principles for
the development of a UK sub-national gender equality index as a resource for
policy makers, researchers and activists in the pursuit of gender equality across
the UK.
Original languageEnglish
PublisherGlobal Institute for Women's Leadership
Number of pages22
Publication statusPublished - Apr 2021


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