Human Development Index (HDI) and the Role of Women in Development. Eric C. Neubauer, Ph.D. Professor, Social Sciences Department

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1 Human Development Index (HDI) and the Role of Women in Development Eric C. Neubauer, Ph.D. Professor, Social Sciences Department

2 What is Development? Historically, associated with economic development Sustained, concerted efforts by policy makers to bring about changes in economic prosperity and the quality of life in a country Developed, developing, underdeveloped countries Note that economic development is NOT the same thing as economic growth Economic Growth Aim is a numerical increase in the production of goods and services (economy gets bigger) Economic Development Aim is economic and social well-being of people (economy gets better) Economic growth is but one aspect of economic development

3 What is Development? More recently it often used in a holistic and multi-disciplinary context of human development Human Development focus is on the human condition with its core being the capabilities approach Concept of human development first laid out by Nobel Laureate economist Amartya Sen Concerned with expanding choices and improving conditions so that people can lead full lives Fundamental in expanding choices and improving conditions is building human capabilities the range of things that people can do or be in life

4 The most basic capabilities for human development are To lead long and healthy lives To be knowledgeable (e.g., to be educated) To have access to the resources and social services needed for a decent standard of living To be able to participate in the life of the community Without these, many choices are simply not available, and many opportunities in life remain inaccessible Thus, human development is much more than just improving economic conditions

5 Human Development Index (HDI) A composite statistic used to rank countries in human development Consists of Life Expectancy, Education, and Income Indices Created by economists Mahbub ul-haq and Amartya Sen in 1990 Published by the United Nations Human Development Programme

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9 To rank high in the HDI, countries need to have high indices in all three dimensions For example, a high income index doesn t mean a country will rank high in HDI Note that the HDI does not capture every aspect that contributes to human capabilities It is, however, a standardized way of quantifying human capabilities across countries In short, it is a place to start in examining the variability in human development found throughout the world And approaching human development from a geographic perspective can help us understand why this variability exists

10 The Role of Women in Development Today, a greater emphasis is being placed on examining the range of capabilities available to women in many countries throughout the world There is a strong correlation between a country s HDI rank and the range of capabilities available to women Women in countries with a high HDI have a greater range of capabilities afforded them than women in countries with a low HDI As such, improvements in human development can be achieved by focusing on expanding the capabilities afforded to women One key element is education

11 Female Education Increases in female education correlates strongly with high levels of human development Research shows that increased female education leads to increases in economic growth and development Women can expect a 1.2% higher return than men on the resources they invest in education Providing one extra-year of education for females increases their wages by 15-20%, compared to only a 5% increase in wages for males When looking at different regions, it is estimated that % of the difference in GDP growth is accounted for solely by differences in the gender gap in education According to notable economist Lawrence Summers investment in the education of girls may well be the highest-return investment available in the developing world

12 Female Education Research shows that increased female education leads to increases in social development Increasing educational opportunities for women leads to lower fertility rates, lower infant mortality rates, and lower maternal mortality rates Increased education of women leads to better cognitive abilities which allows them to make better decisions for themselves and their children Children are more likely to survive into adulthood and have better nutrition Increased education of women also leads to greater civic engagement and involvement in political processes Educated women experience less domestic violence and are more involved in the decision-making process of the family

13 Note that education is but one component in helping increase the range of capabilities afforded women Approaching human development especially for women - needs to be studied and understood in broader, more holistic terms The Feminization of Poverty Phenomenon in which women represent a disproportionate percentage of the world s poor Not just in monetary terms, but also from a human development perspective (lack of a range of capabilities available) There are economic, demographic, and socio-cultural factors that all overlap and contribute to this phenomenon As such, formulating solutions needs to be multi-dimensional in scope

14 Examples The Girl Effect Children International Save the Children

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