Putting the Gender Gap on the Map

The Gender Gap Index, intended to measure the inequalities between men and women in the areas of health, education, economy and politics, was recently released by the World Economic Forum (WEF).

Along with a full length report, the WEF published an interactive map which allows users to easily see how countries stack up against one another. Clicking an individual country on the map reveals the score and rank of the composite index and of each of the four key areas being measured.  A tab at the top gives users quick access to the top 10 countries as measured by the index.

GGI
A snapshot of the map included in the WEF report.

The WEF map is useful in contextualizing the 2013 index scores by allowing users to visually see how countries compare to one another as well as to identify geographic patterns of the scores.  For example, it is easy to see from the map that the lowest performing countries are concentrated in much of Africa and Asia.

The map is limited however, in its ability to offer a comprehensive view of the data provided in the full report.  Presenting the data for the four key areas on click as shown above is a step in the right direction, but this information is hard to digest in number form alone.  In order to fully leverage the data, this information should also be included in map form.  Furthermore, the map functions only as a snapshot of a country’s current status (according to the overall index score), missing a critical time-series component that the text report provides.  The Gender Gap Index first debuted in 2006 and has been updated annually since its launch.  This gives users the power to see change over time and thus the ability to congratulate countries which have made significant progress and to hold those countries accountable which have stagnated or declined over the eight-year period.  Perhaps an even more powerful set of data which is missing from the map but also from the full report is a time series of the subindex scores for the four key areas.  Access to trends over time for each of the subindices would grant users the ability to see why there have been gains or deficits in the overall index. Luckily, The Guardian has provided this data in a Google spreadsheet.

While we don’t have the capacity to completely redo the Gender Gap Index map, we did quickly pull some of the data into Tableau Public (a free tool for creating interactive data visualizations) to give users a more comprehensive view of the data provided by the WEF in the full text report.  The first tab of the visualization gives users the opportunity map various parameters while the second tab gives an in-depth look into trends by country:

Visual Insight is a monthly blog series focusing on mapping and data visualizations. To read last month’s post, click here.

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