The instant article presents, UN Development Programme (UNDP), which published its findings on Gender Social Norms Index (GSNI) on 5th March, is calling on governments to introduce legislation and policies that address engrained prejudice.Gender study finds 90% of people are biased against women.[1]


The United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) has released the Gender Social Norms Index (GSNI)[2] on 5th March 2020. The index measures how social beliefs obstruct gender equality in areas like politics, work and education. The first gender social norm index analyzed data from 75 countries covering over 80 percent of the world’s population.[3] The commemoration of the 25th anniversary of the adoption of the Beijing Declaration and Platform for Action (Beijing+25) provides an opportunity to reassess the path to gender equality and adjust actions to close gender gaps.[4] The figures are based on two sets of data collected from almost 100 countries through the World Values Survey, which examines the changing attitudes in almost 100 countries and how they impact on social and political life. The figures cover periods from 2005-09 and 2010-2014, the latest year for which there is data.

The United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) is the UN’s global development network established in 1965. It is headquartered in New York, US. The important reports published by UNDP include the

a) Gender inequality index,

b) Human Development Index (HDI) among others.[5]

Key features:

  • According to the index, about half of the world’s men and women feel that men make better political leaders, and over 40 percent feel that men make better business executives and that men have more right to a job when jobs are scarce. 28 percent think it is justified for a man to beat his wife. The publication also includes the GSNI trends for 31 countries, representing 59 percent of the global population.Women in the labour market are paid less than men as much as women are not preferred for senior positions because less than 6 percent of CEOs in S&P 500 companies are women. Even though women work more hours than men, this work is more likely to be unpaid care work.[6]   The conclusion can be reached is that, “These impressions are cause for hope, not pessimism, for the future.”[7]

  • The Human Development Report’s Gender Inequality Index (GII)—a measure of women’s empowerment in health, education and economic status—shows that overall progress in gender inequality has been slowing in recent years.[8] For instance, based on the current trends, it would take 257 years to close the gender gap in economic opportunity.[9] The number of female heads of government is lower today than five years ago, with only 10 women in such positions among 193 countries (down from 15 in 2014).[10]

  • New social movements are emerging all around the world and demonstration—including online campaigns, women marches and street performances— demand new ways of looking at gender equality and women’s empowerment. The #MeToo movement gives voice to many silence breakers, uncovering abuse and vulnerability.

  • In India the #IWillGoOut movement demands equal rights for women in public spaces.[11] In Latin America the #NiUnaMenos movement sheds light on femicides and violence against women from Argentina to Mexico.[12] A movement born in Chile created a hymn named “a rapist in your way,” shouted in unison by thousands of women across the world (367 times in 52 countries and on every continent except Antarctica[13] ) demanding that society stop blaming the victims of rape.


Out of 75 countries, only six in which the majority of people held no bias towards women. But while more than 50% of people in Andorra, Australia, the Netherlands, New Zealand, Norway and Sweden were free from gender prejudice, even here the pattern was not one of unmitigated progress. Sweden, for example, was one of several countries – including South Africa, India, Rwanda and Brazil – in which the percentage of people held at least one bias increased over the other against women in the nine years for which the data is covered. More than half of people in the UK and the US held at least one bias against women. In June, a gender index published by the Equal Measures 2030 partnership found that no country was on track to achieve gender equality by 2030, the deadline to achieve the UN sustainable development goals.

India ranked 122th position in Gender Inequality Index in 2018. 11.7% seats are occupied by women in the parliament. About 23.6% women are part of labour force, whereas 78.6% male are part of labour force in India[14]. This shows that “power gaps” still exist between men and women in our economies, our political systems, and our corporations despite real progress closing gender inequalities in basic areas of development like education and health; and the removal of legal barriers to political and economic participation. For example, while men and women vote at similar rates, only 24 percent of parliamentary seats worldwide are held by women and there are only 10 female heads of government out of a possible 193. In the US, a country that is yet to choose a female president, around 39% of people felt that men were better at leading[15].

Edited by Pragash Boopal

Approved & Published – Sakshi Raje

[7]UNDP 1995, p. 29
[8]UNDP 2018
[9]WEF 2018, 2020.
[10]UN Women and IPU 2019.
[11]Divya 2018.
[12]Giraldo-Luque and others 2018.
[13]Hinsliff 2020; Minutaglio 2020