Gender-aware well-being measures - do they make a difference?

Chapter by Irene van Staveren in Routledge Handbook of Feminist Economics

What we measure as well-being and how we measure it makes a difference.

It matters for what we regard as economic activity and what not, what we see as worthwhile to include and what not, whose work we value and whose work not, and it matters for what we regard as important and as mere side effects of economic activity

In her chapter in the recently published Routledge Handbook of Feminist Economics (edited by Günseli Berik, Ebru Kongar), Professor Irene van Staveren discusses various types of gender-aware well-being measures. She argues that it matters what we regard as economic activity and what not, what we see as worthwhile to include and what not, whose work we value and whose work not, and it matters for what we regard as important and as mere side effects of economic activity.

Inequality, equality and progress indicators

For example, she introduces the Gender Inequality Index (GII) which measures male-female differences without favoring the disadvantages of one sex over the other, that is female disadvantage in one can be compensated by male disadvantage in another.

Alongside the GII, she also discusses the Gender Equality Index from the ISS database Indices of Social Development.

Another well-being indicator that she discusses in the Genuine Progress Indicator (GPI) which is available for a limited number of countries due to lack of data and has been argued to fall short of capturing sustainability concerns. The GPI framework could report some of its components in gender-disaggregated terms (such as housework, leisure time, underemployment) and gender-aware narratives about non-quantifiable dimensions of well-being could complement the GPI.

Download and read the full chapter - 'Measurement of well-being'

Professor

Professor Irene van Staveren

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The Routledge Handbook of Feminist Economics presents a comprehensive overview of the contributions of feminist economics to the discipline of economics and beyond.

Each chapter situates the topic within the history of the field, reflects upon current debates, and looks forward to identify cutting-edge research.

Consistent with feminist economics’ goal of strong objectivity, this Handbook compiles contributions from different traditions in feminist economics (including but not limited to Marxian political economy, institutionalist economics, ecological economics and neoclassical economics) and from different disciplines (such as economics, philosophy and political science).

The Handbook delineates the social provisioning methodology and highlights its insights for the development of feminist economics. The contributors are a diverse mix of established and rising scholars of feminist economics from around the globe who skillfully frame the current state and future direction of feminist economic scholarship.

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