The proper use of sound indicators aids the process of policy formation tremendously. However, when indicators are not representative and/or reflective of important variables which affect the overall picture, they lose their reliability. This paper examines the world’s most widely used indicator for gender (in)equality: gender development index (GDI). The study focuses on the Arab region. The main question is: After correcting GDI to be more reflective of missing variables, how will we read gender equality issues in the region? Will they be better or worse?
The study embarks on a thorough literature review. This includes a presentation of econometric models used in different schools of thought. Next, the author presents the proposed six factors of correction, each explained in econometric modeling. The following section discusses the so-called displaced aggregation models in GDI. The used model assumes perfect linearity between variables, thus creating a misplaced sustainability. The study proposes otherwise, by using the displaced ideal technique.
The study finds that:
in five gulf countries, such as Saudi Arabia, Bahrain and Oman, there is a high bias gender ratio skewed in favor of males
the corrected GDI has showed that female receive higher education than males in certain countries; a fact that was lopsided prior to GDI correction
other countries where female population is higher than males (such as in Morocco and in Lebanon) corrected GDI behaves differently