The composite index aims to evaluate countries' performances regarding the progress they made in closing the gender gap in the fields of health, socio-economic resources, politics and household since 1950


Sarah Carmichael, Selin Dilli and Auke Rijpma, Utrecht University

Production date

20 June 2019


composite Historical Gender Equality Index combining data on life expectancy, sex ratio, education, labor force participation, marriage ages, parliament seats


Gender equality, composite index, Historical Gender Equality Index

Time period

1950 - 2003

Geographical coverage

129 countries

Methodologies used for data collection and processing

Annual data. Gaps in underlying data were imputed using a multiple imputation procedure. See Feminist Economics (2019) for more details. Multiple datasets obtained in this matter were averaged to be able to present one series in this format

Period of collection


Data collectors

Sarah Carmichael, Selin Dilli, and Auke Rijpma

The composite index is based on various data sources. A discussion of data sources of each indicator is included in Clio-infra website and in Carmichael et al. (2014). The data coverage for each gender equality indicator becomes substantially better after 1950 and is mostly based on scholarly research or, usually, statistical agencies. However, most observations of the HGEI have missing data in one of the components, so be mindful that the calculation of the index required imputations

General references

Dilli, Selin, Sarah G. Carmichael, and Auke Rijpma. 2019. `Introducing the Historical Gender Equality Index'. Feminist Economics 25 (1): 31 - 57. https://doi.org/10.1080/13545701.2018.1442582.

See also other working papers on gender equality indicators in Clio-infra website.


Anguilla[No Data]

Antigua and Barbuda1500 (5)-2013 (21)

Aruba[No Data]

Bahamas1500 (5)-2013 (23)

Barbados1500 (5)-2016 (28)

Bonaire, Sint Eustatius and Saba[No Data]

British Virgin Islands[No Data]

Cayman Islands[No Data]

Cuba1500 (8)-2016 (35)

Curaçao[No Data]

Dominica1500 (5)-2016 (21)

Dominican Republic1500 (6)-2018 (38)

Grenada1500 (5)-2013 (21)

Guadeloupe[No Data]

Haiti1500 (6)-2018 (36)

Jamaica1500 (6)-2018 (35)

Martinique[No Data]

Montserrat[No Data]

In 2010, the Netherlands Organisation for Scientific Research (NWO) awarded a subsidy to the Clio Infra project, of which Jan Luiten van Zanden was the main applicant and which is hosted by the International Institute of Social History (IISH). Clio Infra has set up a number of interconnected databases containing worldwide data on social, economic, and institutional indicators for the past five centuries, with special attention to the past 200 years. These indicators allow research into long-term development of worldwide economic growth and inequality.

Global inequality is one of the key problems of the contemporary world. Some countries have (recently) become wealthy, other countries have remained poor. New theoretical developments in economics - such as new institutional economics, new economic geography, and new growth theory - and the rise of global economic and social history require such processes to be studied on a worldwide scale. Clio Infra provides datasets for the most important indicators. Economic and social historians from around the world have been working together in thematic collaboratories, in order to collect and share their knowledge concerning the relevant indicators of economic performance and its causes. The collected data have been standardized, harmonized, and stored for future use. New indicators to study inequality have been developed. The datasets are accessible through the Clio Infra portal which also offers possibilities for visualization of the data. Clio Infra offers the opportunity to greatly enhance our understanding of the origins, causes and character of the process of global inequality.