Global Resources

Women’s Economic Opportunity Index 2012

Publisher: The Economist Intelligence Unit
Publication Date: Jan 2012
In the second half of the 20th century, the entry of women into the workforce helped to propel most of the world’s developed economies. Yet, women remain the world’s greatest pool of untapped labour; nearly one-half of the world’s working age women are not currently active in the global economy.

As governments worldwide seek solutions to waning economic performance, expanding opportunities for the 1.5 billion women not employed in the formal sector will take on even greater importance, as will removing the legal, social, financial and educational barriers hindering women’s productivity. To measure progress in the economic advancement of women, the Economist Intelligence Unit created the Women’s Economic Opportunity Index (WEOI).

The WEOI aims to look beyond gender disparities to the underlying factors affecting women’s access to economic opportunity. It draws on data from a wide range of international organisations, including the United Nations, the International Monetary Fund, the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development, the World Health Organisation, the Food and Agriculture Organisation, and many others.

The WEOI brings together 29 indicators in total, measuring access to finance, education and training, legal and social status, and the general business environment. The result is a comprehensive assessment of the enabling environment for women’s economic participation in 128 countries, each scored from a maximum of 100.

In this latest edition, published in 2012, Sweden came out top, rising 1.8 points from 2010 levels to just over 90. Norway, Finland, Belgium, and Australia made up the rest of the top five. Sudan is bottom of the list despite improving by 4 points on 2010. The WEOI requires a signing-in to download.

[adapted from source]