What is the Social Institutions and Gender Index?

The Social Institutions and Gender Index (SIGI) was first launched by the OECD Development Centre in 2009 as a innovative measure of the underlying drivers of gender inequality for over 100 countries. Instead of measuring gender gaps in outcomes such as employment and education, the SIGI instead captures discriminatory social institutions, such as early marriage, discriminatory inheritance practices, violence against women, son preference, restricted access to public space and restricted access to land and credit.

The 2012 SIGI is made up of 14 unique variables, grouped into 5 sub-indices: Discriminatory Family Code, Restricted Physical Integrity, Son Bias, Restricted Resources and Entitlements and Restricted Civil Liberties.

Since the SIGI was launched in 2009, countries have introduced new laws, there have been changes in practices and data sources have improved. The 2012 SIGI represents an updated methodological and conceptual framework and improved data sources for over 100 countries.

Download a summary of the 2012 SIGI results here.

The composition of SIGI


Why measure discriminatory social institutions?

There is now widespread consensus that gender equality matters for development, economic growth and poverty reduction. Improving women’s education, employment and health outcomes not only delivers benefits for women but for whole communities and economies. However, as has become apparent with the sluggish progress towards MDG targets, there remain significant obstacles to achieving equal outcomes for women and men on key economic and social indicators. Research using the SIGI has found that, discriminatory social institutions, such as women's lack of access to resources, discrimination in the family and gender-based violence are related to:


Policy interventions are too often designed without taking into account the role of discriminatory social institutions in driving unequal outcomes for women and girls. For example, interventions to increase access to education for girls often do not take account of  the status of girls in the family, sexual harassment in the school environment or social norms regarding early marriage. By capturing discriminatory social institutions, policy-makers and donors can understand identify the often invisible areas where resources and interventions should be targeted to promote gender equality, poverty reduction and development.