Global asset manager Aberdeen Standard Investments (ASI) announced today the creation of the Gender Equality Index that uses a wide range of economic, policy and empowerment factors, to rank developed market countries in several areas of gender equality. The index is designed to help investors make decisions based on a country’s progress towards gender equality.

The new index ranks 29 countries, scoring them on a scale out of 100 based on the following factors: “The current economic situation for women, the policies in place to support equality, plus an ‘empowerment’ score that measures how much business and political opportunity and involvement there is for women.’’

The index also highlights the reasons for inequality and it can be improved for each specific country.

ASI has found insightful information about the ongoing female inequality in the 29 countries, including the fact that since the start of the COVID-19 pandemic, female representation in state and political jobs has decreased and access to business opportunities had also fallen. The UK and Japan have both ranked low on the list, and are facing a lack of positive female empowerment figures, political representation, and less business opportunities for women.

According to the global asset manager, the US, which ranks 27th out of 29, could promote gender equality by passing pro-equality policies that encourage maternity and paternity leave, less-expensive childcare, and lighter taxing on parents and single parents.

The countries that rank higher of the list are Spain, the Nordic countries, Germany, and Estonia. According to ASI, women in those countries are well represented and have better opportunities across all economic, policy and empowerment indicators.

 Stephanie Kelly, Deputy Head of the Aberdeen Standard Investments Research Institute (ASIRI), said:

“The aim is to identify the economies likely to benefit from greater gender equality, because they will have better economic outcomes and could offer better investment opportunities. This is our first year of creating the index, so it will be really interesting to see how countries improve or if the pandemic, for example, sets gender equality back.’’

‘’The very specific measures we have used make it easy for investors to see what can be improved and where. This will also make it easy to track improvements or steps backward in subsequent years. The index takes three particular areas into account in the scoring: the economic macro fundamentals of every country, the policies concerning gender equality, and an ‘empowerment’ scoring system. We want to grow the understanding that gender equality really is fundamental for a country’s growth and development. Hopefully, we can also highlight where a country needs to make improvements.”