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Gender indicators against social exclusion

Gender indicators against social exclusion

Designing indicators of social exclusion, at the European level, including gender approach.


Gender indicators against social exclusion
Transnational Interchange Programme European Commission
Employment and Social Affairs DG

The last economic, cultural and social changes developed into Western societies have provoked social fractures and crisis of social participation. The citizenship of certain social groups is being infringed since they cannot put into effect their social rights.

The European institutions answered to these processes of social inequality in Lisbon European Council, March 2000, where the eradication of poverty and social exclusion was established as an aim of the European social policy. Following this objective, the European Council established the commitment of making easier a better comprehension of the phenomenon of social exclusion in the European context, as well as the promotion of the identification and interchange of good practices.

Several analyses of social exclusion agree on the characterisation of the phenomenon as a multidimensional process. In this sense, talking about social exclusion implies to talk about crisis of integration in multiple social fields: the economic sphere, labour sphere, cultural, political, social relations field, access to public goods… The multiple possible causes of exclusion and the multiple ways into which the process is manifested also imply that heterogeneous groups of people are in vulnerable positions.

In order to cope with this multidimensionality of the phenomenon and the heterogeneity of the social groups in risk position, it is necessary to develop analyses that capture the specificity and the concrete ways into which the process of social exclusion is manifested.

This is the proposal of this project, to put forward the comprehension of the phenomenon of social exclusion focusing the analysis on its gender specificity. Concretely, the proposal consists on designing indicators of social exclusion, at the European level, including gender approach. This means, the design of indicators that make visible the specific situations of women, living in the European context and living in vulnerable and exclusion positions.

Gender variable is a significant variable to be considered in the analysis of social exclusion processes because different problems and difficulties, which imply exclusion processes, affect men and women differently: the viewpoint, the base of the problem, the connection with other domains and the impact in other spheres of life, etc., vary if the affected person is a man or a woman.

Designing indicators that capture exclusion factors of women, their experiences of precarious access to social goods, their specific problems due to their condition of women… is a previous step in order to improve the effectiveness of policies preventing and fighting social exclusion. So, it is essential to develop new indicators and to revise the exiting ones with the aim of including gender inequalities and differences that are present in social exclusion processes.

Specific objectives

  • To revise the official existing indicators used to measure the phenomenon of social exclusion, analysing their limits in relation with a gender approach.
  •  To apply qualitative methodologies to build exclusion factors which remain invisible in the official lists of indicators. 
  • To capture women's concrete experiences of social exclusion and to draw qualitative indicators which explain the specific women's experiences of exclusion.
  •  To transform these qualitative indicators that reflects women's experiences, into quantitative indicators.
  • To analyse the viability of these new indicators according to the existing database.
  •  To propose recommendations to make possible the application of indicators at the political level.

Duration: December 2003 - November 2005

SURT Spain (Promoter)
Gender Studies and Equal Opportunities Centre, University of Miskolc Hungary
Leren Ondernemen Belgium
Folkuniversitetet Kristianstad Sweden
MRIE France
CRAS Italy

Website: http://www.surt.org/indicadors2/

Contact person: Martin Persson

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