U.N. Stats: Iran’s Gender Gap

April 1, 2013
            A new U.N. report ranked Iran 107 out of 148 countries on the Gender Inequality Index (GII), which measures reproductive health, empowerment and economic activity of women. Iran’s maternal mortality ratio and adolescent fertility rate are relatively low compared to other countries close in level of development and population size, such as Bangladesh and Pakistan.
 
            But Iran does not score well in other areas of female empowerment. Bangladesh and Pakistan have lower GII rankings, yet women occupy about 20 percent of parliamentary seats in either country. Only 3.1 percent of seats in Iran’s parliament are held by women despite their high level of education. About 62 percent of Iranian women have reached a secondary or higher level of education compared to 69 percent of men. Female participation in Iran’s labor force, 16.4 percent, is also low. The following is an excerpt from the 2013 Human Development Report, with a link to the full text at the end.
 
            The Gender Inequality Index (GII) reflects gender-based inequalities in three dimensions – reproductive health, empowerment, and economic activity. Reproductive health is measured by maternal mortality and adolescent fertility rates; empowerment is measured by the share of parliamentary seats held by each gender and attainment at secondary and higher education by each gender; and economic activity is measured by the labour market participation rate for each gender. The GII replaced the previous Gender-related Development Index and Gender Empowerment Index. The GII shows the loss in human development due to inequality between female and male achievements in the three GII dimensions. (For more details on GII please see Technical note 3 in the Statistics Annex).
 
            Iran (Islamic Republic of) has a GII value of 0.496, ranking it 107 out of 148 countries in the 2012 index. In Iran (Islamic Republic of), 3.1 percent of parliamentary seats are held by women, and 62.1 percent of adult women have reached a secondary or higher level of education compared to 69.1 percent of their male counterparts. For every 100,000 live births, 21 women die from pregnancy related causes; and the adolescent fertility rate is 25 births per 1000 live births. Female participation in the labour market is 16.4 percent compared to 72.5 for men.
 
            In comparison Bangladesh and Pakistan are ranked at 111 and 123 respectively on this index.
 
Table D: Iran (Islamic Republic of)’s GII for 2012 relative to selected countries and groups
 
 
GII value
GII Rank
Maternal mortality ratio
Adolescent fertility rate
Female seats in parliament (%)
Population with at least secondary education (%)
Labour force participation rate (%)
 
 
 
 
 
 
Female
Male
Female
Male
Iran (Islamic Republic of)
0.496
107
21
25
3.1
62.1
69.1
16.4
72.5
Bangladesh
0.518
111
240
68.2
19.7
30.8
39.3
57.2
84.3
Pakistan
0.567
123
260
28.1
21.1
18.3
43.1
22.7
83.3
South Asia
0.568
203
66.9
18.5
28.3
49.7
31.3
81
High HDI
0.376
47
45.9
18.5
62.9
65.2
46.8
75.3
Click here for the full report and summary.
 

Click here for the explanatory note on Iran.