by Lindsay Swisher
On Tuesday, November 21, 2017, the Georgetown Institute for Women, Peace and Security (GIWPS) unveiled their new Women, Peace and Security index to the greater Georgetown community. The index looks at the three main dimensions of justice, inclusion, and security to provide a more comprehensive measure of women’s well-being worldwide. It analyzes 153 countries, covering more than 98% of the world’s population, and highlights achievements and deficits in each one of those countries.
Joel Hellman, Dean of the School of Foreign Service, and Melanne Verveer, former U.S. Ambassador for Global Women’s Issues and Director of GIWPS, each gave opening remarks about the importance of this index. According to Dean Hellman, “There are dozens and dozens of questions that I can think of that now can bring a critical dimension of analysis and engagement because of the index.” Ambassador Verveer added , “The operating principle that guided our efforts was a recognition that women are at the center of efforts to achieve sustainable peace through inclusion, justice, and security.” Verveer says that analyzing these three dimensions together are part of what makes this index so innovative and unique.
Jeni Klugman, Managing Director of GIWPS, then presented key findings of the index and discussed how it can be used to inform work on women’s issues around the world.
According to Klugman, another reason why this index is so innovative is that, “[It’s] the first gender index which is explicitly grounded in the framework of the 2030 agenda and the Sustainable Development Goals. And like all indices, in the end it provides a simple number, it provides a ranking, but then it also provides the data associated with that to enable an understanding of what’s going on.”
Users of the index can look at how each country performs within each dimension, and then at an overall ranking. Using the United States as an example, Klugman said, “Interestingly, only about 30 countries score at the top for all three dimensions. There’s a lot of unevenness at the country level in terms of how they perform…the United States ranks 22nd overall, so not even close to the top dozen. But it is on par with other developed countries in terms of inclusion and justice. Where it really falls behind is on intimate partner violence, which is about 10 percentage points higher than in other developed countries.”
The index can be used to analyze the impact of gender on violence in conflict settings as well. When looking at organized violence as the dependent variable, the index shows that two indicators are the most significant predictors in a country: intimate partner violence and discriminatory norms. One thing the index lacks is a measure of resiliency among women, an aspect that is notoriously difficult to quantify in the field.
GIWPS has committed to updating the index over the next two years to correspond with various UN anniversaries occurring in 2019. Find the full index at https://giwps.georgetown.edu/the-index/