BlessWorld Foundation International

Affecting the World Through Health
A Global Health Initiative

Gender Parity and Global Health



Gender parity can be defined as a numerical concept used to express gender equality. It is related to gender equality in that it’s used to express relative equality in terms of numbers and proportions of women and men or girls and boys. It is often calculated as the ratio of female-to-male values for a given indicator or factor. It can also be referred to as sex or gender ratio when males-to-females ratios are calculated. When compared to gender equality, gender parity describes the contribution and numerical representation of women and men in every dimension of life, including private and public sectors.
One of the major aims of gender parity is to increase the participation of women and lay a foundation for economic prosperity. Increasing the economic participation and advancement of women is essential to ensuring this strong foundation. This is because women account for about half the global labor supply and about 70% of global consumption demand. Ensuring and maintaining gender parity in educational and employment opportunities fosters faster and more inclusive growth because women are more likely to invest in the human capital of their families. Despite being near parity with men in health and education throughout much of the world, women still lag behind in economic participation and opportunity by about 20% in many societies.
Gender parity index (GPI) is a purely numeric value which gives information on the ratio of female to male values of a given indicator. Like every other ratio, the GPI value is obtained by a simple mathematical calculation of dividing the female value of an indicator by the male value of the same indicator using the given values of the indicator. The aim of GPI is to measure the progress towards gender parity in education participation and/or learning opportunities available for females in relation to those available to males. The significance and importance of GPI lies in the interpretation of the value obtained after the calculation. In general, when GPI value equals 1, it signifies parity or evenness between females and males; when GPI value is less than 1, it indicates disparity which favors the male gender while a GPI value greater than 1 indicates a disparity which favors the female gender. However, in some cases where the direction of the GPI interpretation ideally approach 0% (such as dropout and illiteracy rates), a GPI of less than 1 indicates a disparity which favors females while a value greater than 1 indicates a disparity which favors the males. One limitation of GPI is that it does not show whether improvement or lack of it is due to the performance of any of the gender groups. Furthermore, the interpretation of GPI requires trend analysis of the underlying indicators to make complete sense of it.
The United Nations Secretary-General, António Guterres, made the quoted statement below to illustrate the significance of Gender Parity…
“Gender parity at the United Nations is an urgent need and a personal priority. It’s a moral duty and an operational necessity. The meaningful inclusion of women in decision-making increases effectiveness and productivity, brings new perspectives and solutions to the table, unlocks greater resources, and strengthens efforts across all the three pillars of our work.”

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