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Published by: OECD Development Centre, 2014

Country / Region: Regional/global

Social Institutions & Gender Index 2014 Synthesis Report

30 November 2014

The Social Institutions & Gender Index (SIGI) 2014 Synthesis Report from the OECD ranks 108 countries according to the level of discrimination (very low, low, medium, high, or very high) against women and girls in social institutions. The index covers five areas:

  • discriminatory family code;
  • restricted physical integrity;
  • son bias;
  • restricted resources and assets;
  • restricted civil liberties.

These dimensions look at the gaps between women and men in terms of rights and opportunities as reflected in legislation, practices and attitudes. Capturing the gender differences in these key areas provides a clearer vision of how they shape women’s lives. The SIGI shows that reducing and eliminating the gender gaps in social institutions is critical for establishing an environment that enables women and girls to fully benefit from social and economic empowerment opportunities.

Gender gaps in social institutions translate into gender gaps in development outcomes such as inter alia, the labour force, level of poverty and marginalisation, education, vulnerability to violence, and public leadership positions. This report gives examples of the correlations between discriminatory social institutions and key development outcomes.


  • The East Asia and the Pacific region is characterised by comprehensive legislative frameworks protecting women’s rights; however their implementation and weak institutional structures continue to hold back progress. Overall, moves toward gender equality are slow or patchy, particularly regarding civil liberties, secure access to land, violence against women and political voice, which are serious issues of concern for the region.
  • Countries in East Asia and the Pacific that have significantly reduced gender-based discrimination have done so by strengthening existing laws or creating new ones (e.g. Viet Nam), introducing joint titling schemes to boost women’s land ownership rights (e.g. Cambodia) and providing specialised services to facilitate women’s access to justice (e.g. Mongolia). In addition, some countries have established action plans to promote gender equality (e.g. Mongolia and Viet Nam). Significant gaps remain in legislation, implementation, community awareness and women’s legal literacy, which require urgent attention and concerted coordination between the region’s decision makers, civil society organisations and women’s rights networks.
  • The numbers of missing women have fallen since 2012. Although the unequal sex ratio remains alarming, considerably fewer women are missing in Papua New Guinea and the People’s Republic of China. The only country in the region demonstrating an increase in the number of missing women is the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea.
  • Women’s status and decision-making authority within the family paint a mixed picture, mainly due to conflict between customary, religious and civil laws (e.g. Indonesia, Malaysia, the Philippines and Singapore). Attitudes accepting domestic violence are prevalent across the region and peak in the Lao People’s Democratic Republic and in Timor Leste (over 80%). In some countries, marital rape is still not recognised (e.g. Cambodia and Mongolia). A number of national family and civil codes maintain men as the only head of household (e.g. Philippines), which reduces women’s decision-making authority over household assets and family well-being. This also compromises women’s and girls’ rights to inherit, own, and control land and property, as well as restricts their freedom of movement.
  • Negative stereotypes and traditional perceptions of women’s roles cut across the region in public life as well, inhibiting women’s empowerment. The majority of the region’s countries have no quotas for women in politics at either the national or sub-national level (e.g. Fiji, the People’s Republic of China, Singapore, Thailand and Viet Nam), thus perpetuating low levels of women’s political leadership.


  • The SIGI
    • Introduction
    • Key messages
    • Description of the SIGI and its sub-indices
    • Key results
    • SIGI classification
  • Understanding development processes through the SIGI
    • SIGI and development outcomes
    • Thematic analyses
  • Regional analyses
    • OECD countries
    • East Asia and the Pacific
    • Eastern Europe and Central Asia
    • Latin America and the Caribbean
    • Middle East and North Africa
    • South Asia
    • Sub-Saharan Africa
  • Annex
    • Methodology
    • SIGI 2014 framework: Variables and coding
    • Country scores according to the SIGI and its sub-indices
  • Notes
  • References

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