Both the Gender-related Development Index (GDI) and the Gender Empowerment Measure (GEM) represent a ‘‘false start’’ in measuring gender equality. This is because they do not measure gender (in)equality as such, but an odd combination of absolute welfare levels and gender equality that is not easy to interpret. This note argues that the United Nations Development Programme’s Human Development Report Office should take the lead in either constructing a new index for measuring gender equality or elaborating a revised GDI and revised GEM that do measure gender equality. Detailed recommendations are given for both possibilities on how this can be done, partly on the basis of a brief review of alternatives presented in the literature.

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Keywords gender equality, human development, measurement, public governance, public management, public sector
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Journal Journal of human development
Dijkstra, A.G. (2006). Towards a fresh start in measuring gender equality: A contribution to the debate. Journal of human development, 275–283. Retrieved from