Build Your Own Gender Indexmy.genderindex.org<br />Gender Equality and Progress in Societies<br />12 March 2010<br />OECD ...
Build Your Own Gender Index: Visualizing Social Institutions<br />Enabling users to make decisions for themselves about wh...
Build Your Own Gender Index: Visualizing Social Institutions<br />1<br />The SIGI Composite Indicator<br />2<br />The “Bui...
SIGI: The Social Institutions and Gender Index<br /><ul><li>Innovative measure of social institutions that are root causes...
124 countries (102 ranked) -- 5 sub-indices / 12 variables
3+ years of research and analysis, country notes, coding, scoring…</li></li></ul><li>“Traditional” tools for sharing data ...
Definitions
Exportable in .txt, .csv, .xls…</li></ul>Can be useful for researchers….<br />IF YOU KNOW WHAT YOU ARE LOOKING FOR!<br />
New tool to share, explore, and explain data produced at OECD<br />My Gender Index<br /><ul><li>Change weight of different...
Drop social institutions from calculations
Filter by region
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Build Your Own Gender Index: my.genderindex.org

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The SIGI composite indicator (www.genderindex.org) is unique in its approach to gender inequality because rather than focusing on measuring societal outcomes related to inequality, it focuses on measuring institutions that affect these outcomes.

The tool at my.genderindex.org allows the user to customize the Social Institutions and Gender Index, building their own gender index. It also includes features to further explore the data by indicator and by region.

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  • Hi. My name is Seth Flaxman. I’m going to be presenting a new tool, part of OECD’s Social Institutions and Gender Index, SIGI for short.What’s the idea behind my.genderindex? Well, in general, there are some fundamental problems we face in creating these indicators and rankings. First, there’s the problem of authority: if we take data and then decide on a methodology for turning it into an indicator, and then we publish our findings, we’re making a claim to authority which, no matter how sound, sophisticated, or transparent our methodology, will always be questioned. And as much as we emphasize that our ranking shouldn’t be reduced to a simple country A is better than country B, we all know how the media works.Second, there’s the related problem of engagement and accessibility. For example, is the data and indicator we created being used, and does it get used by non-experts? Can non-experts who use the indicator meaningfully interpret why country A has a higher score than country B?
  • Now, what’s the goal of an index like this?My part in this project, incidentally, grew out of a project called CityRank which I worked on last year, which sought to create interactive indices on global cities. In describing our work on CityRank in a recent paper (which I’ve got copies of in case you’re interested) my collaborators and I answered, “enabling users to make decisions for themselves about which factors they value—and to what extent they value them—makes the underlying data and resulting ranking more meaningful and personal to the user.”The goal of any new indicator isn’t the publication of pretty numbers or clever rankings. Rather, it’s the questions it allows us to ask, and the stories it pushes us to tell. An interactive index addresses critics of rankings, but it also joins the critic’s chorus by saying you’re right, our interpretations and definitions are not necessarily full or correct. And it engages—asking users to push and pull, to question, rather than to dismiss, the rankings.
  • First, I’ll tell you about the SIGI composite indicator itself. Then, I’ll tell you about the practical process of adding interactive features to an existing ranking, and how the my gender index “Build Your Own Ranking” tool builds on that work. And finally, I’ll conclude with a discussion of the larger ideas driving this work, which may be helpful in your own.
  • The SIGI composite indicator is unique in its approach to gender inequality because rather than focusing on outcomes, it focuses on institutions. It covers 124 countries (of which only the 102 with full data are included in the official, overall ranking) by grouping 12 variables, like inheritance laws or freedom of dress under 5 sub-indicators, such as Family Code or Civil Liberties. The overall SIGI is an average of the sub-indicators. It’s been online at genderindex.org for a year, and the team has published papers on it. And for the first time, as you probably know, it’s been published in its entirety as the first OECD Gender Atlas.The genderindex.org website has separate pages for each of the 124 countries with country profiles. It has pages describing the methodology and statistics behind the index, and links to OECD.Stat. There’s even an audio interview explaining the index for download. It’s very nice work.
  • This is a screenshot of OECD.Stat, OECD’s data repository which includes all of the data underlying SIGI and the SIGI itself. It’s online and freely available, and it allows anyone to export the data in a variety of formats, in addition to providing good metadata and definitions of the various variables. In one sense, then, there’s a good case to be made that with SIGI the team has already opened their data and indicator to the public. Separately, there’s an academic paper outlining the methodology, and it wouldn’t be too hard to recreate the ranking. For a knowledgeable researcher, who knows what he or she is looking for, OECD.Stat is a fine tool. The Build Your Own Gender Index tool at my.genderindex.org takes that public accessibility to a new level, complementing the Gender Atlas and genderindex.org site.
  • This new tool’s goal is what I said at the start, “enabling users to make decisions for themselves about which factors they value makes the underlying data and resulting ranking more meaningful and personal to the user.” To that end, the my gender index tool allows the user to reweight the different sub-indicators of the index, that is, they can assign greater or lesser weights to each social institution. The tool also allows users to drop subindicators entirely. And since the index is recalculated instantaneously, adding functionality like building a gender index for just one region is simple. Similarly, countries for which full data is not available are not included in the published SIGI, but users interested in those countries can decide to build rankings that include them. The tool is integrated with the pre-existing genderindex.org website, such that links for more information send users directly to the appropriate place on the genderindex.org website.
  • Let me show you a few examples that Chris put together. In the first, Chris loads the my gender index page, which by default corresponds to the same settings as the published SIGI. He uses the map to find out China’s ranking, 83rd/102 countries which isn’t very good. He takes a look at the top 15 countries, shown on the right, Paraguay, Croatia, and Kazakhstan. Then he removes the sub-indicator for Son Preference and press the Calculate Ranking button to recalculate his ranking. Out of nowhere, Hong Kong shoots to the top of the ranking, from 20th. Chris uses the map to find China’s new rank: from 83rd place, it’s jumped up to 25th. This is an interesting movement in the ranking and might lead users to questions not just about the role of Son Preference in China, but about the low levels of gender discrimination reflected in other social institutions in China. And if we wanted to drill down further, we could click on the South Asia region and only compare countries in South Asia.
  • In the next example, Chris is playing with a few more features. He reweights a few of the different sub-indicators, recalculates the ranking, and takes a quick glance at how his ranking has changed. Then he takes a closer look by switching to the detailed view of the data and he resorts the score column, showing the countries at the bottom of his new gender index, rather than those at the top.
  • Finally, in this example Chris switches to the Europe and Central Asia region, scrolls down to read the text accompanying it, which I think it’s interesting to note was prepared for the Gender Atlas but had not yet found a place on the website.The integration of the my gender index with the rest of the SIGI site provides a new outlet for the careful summaries written by the OECD team which might otherwise have been confined to the book. Now Chris has loaded the map of the region, and removed all but one indicator. In this case, Chris isn’t really using the tool to build a new gender index—remember that what he’s now exposing is simply the Physical Integrity sub-indicator, which he could have found in OECD.Stat. But now he’s got that data at his fingertips in a way he didn’t before, he’s got it filtered in a meaningful way to him, and he’s got a nice visualization of it. And if you were watching really carefully, you’d notice another thing: while there were originally 13 countries on the list at right, there’s now 16! That’s because the SIGI doesn’t rank Turkmenistan because full data isn’t available for Turkmenistan. So as I said earlier, the my genderindex site has the capacity to create rankings for countries left out of the official ranking even if data is missing for some social institutions.
  • Finally, let me conclude by distilling some of the broad ideas which drove this work, and continue to inform this project as it develops. There’s a definite desire in the public for this data—this point was driven home for me when I checked the statistics for traffic to the gender index website and found that many people were finding the gender index site by searching Google for “gender inequality in country X” and that these people were from country X. So that should serve as reminder that no matter how compelling your data, if it’s not available through a simple Google search then it might as well not exist when the general public is concerned.Next, it’s wonderful to see governments making their data free and open, and international organizations have every reason to participate, and much to gain by embracing this movement.It’s not just the data—using and contributing to the development of open sources tools is important on so many levels. Practically speaking, the development of a site like genderindex.org would have been much more costly if not for tools like Linux, Apache, Drupal, Firefox, jquery, Django, and Python. And if my original code for CityRank, which forms the basis of the my.genderindex.org tool, had not been open source, the new site would have involved a lot of duplicate work, or required licensing the code, which would mean lawyers, contracts, the kind of investment in time and energy that would quickly stifle a small project. And more philosophically speaking, the open source movement and communities like Wikipedia and CreativeCommons are important models worth studying and learning from—which can best be done by participating.Finally, let me say that in launching the interactive tool we haven’t put much thought into if and how we’ll measure our success—or even what we’d define as success. With CityRank, we hoped that users would share their rankings and built in features to enable this, but few users felt the urge to go to the trouble required. I hope that soon we’ll have the ability to include rankings from the my.genderindex site in WikiGender and WikiProgress and perhaps that’ll be a more compelling venue. In any case, I’ll be keeping a close eye on our statistics, but I’d love to know what suggestions you have as far as metrics go.
  • That’s all. Thank you very much!
  • Build Your Own Gender Index: my.genderindex.org

    1. 1. Build Your Own Gender Indexmy.genderindex.org<br />Gender Equality and Progress in Societies<br />12 March 2010<br />OECD Headquarters, Paris<br />Christopher Garroway, OECD Development Centre<br />Seth Flaxman, Ecole Polytechnique Fédérale de Lausanne<br />
    2. 2. Build Your Own Gender Index: Visualizing Social Institutions<br />Enabling users to make decisions for themselves about which factors they value makes the underlying data and resulting ranking more meaningful and personal to the user.<br />
    3. 3. Build Your Own Gender Index: Visualizing Social Institutions<br />1<br />The SIGI Composite Indicator<br />2<br />The “Build Your Own Ranking” Tool: my.genderindex.org<br />3<br />Beyond SIGI: underlying ideas<br />
    4. 4. SIGI: The Social Institutions and Gender Index<br /><ul><li>Innovative measure of social institutions that are root causes of gender inequality
    5. 5. 124 countries (102 ranked) -- 5 sub-indices / 12 variables
    6. 6. 3+ years of research and analysis, country notes, coding, scoring…</li></li></ul><li>“Traditional” tools for sharing data produced at OECD<br />OECD.Stat<br /><ul><li>Metadata
    7. 7. Definitions
    8. 8. Exportable in .txt, .csv, .xls…</li></ul>Can be useful for researchers….<br />IF YOU KNOW WHAT YOU ARE LOOKING FOR!<br />
    9. 9. New tool to share, explore, and explain data produced at OECD<br />My Gender Index<br /><ul><li>Change weight of different social institutions in index
    10. 10. Drop social institutions from calculations
    11. 11. Filter by region
    12. 12. Ranking and map update automatically</li></li></ul><li>Drop Variables and See How Countries Change Rank<br />
    13. 13. Change Weights and Look at Ranking Details <br />
    14. 14. Filter Data by Regions and Explore Issues of Concern<br />
    15. 15. Conclusions<br /><ul><li>Encourage exploration of your data by specialists and the public
    16. 16. Embrace the growing public data movement: data.gov, data.gov.uk, Google Public Data, etc.
    17. 17. Join and harness the power of a motivated community of open source developers
    18. 18. How do we measure our own progress and success?</li></li></ul><li>Thank you!<br />christopher.garroway@oecd.org<br />seth.flaxman@epfl.ch<br />genderindex.org<br />my.genderindex.org<br />

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