Reducing gender inequality is a major policy concern worldwide, and one of the Sustainable Development Goals. However, our understanding of the magnitude and spatial distribution of gender inequality results either from limited-scale case studies or from national-level statistics. Here, we produce the first high resolution map of gender inequality by analyzing over 689,000 households in 47 countries. Across these countries, we find that male-headed households have, on average, 13% more asset wealth and 303% more land for agriculture than do female-headed households. However, this aggregate global result masks a high degree of spatial heterogeneity, with bands of both high inequality and high equality apparent in countries and regions of the world. Further, areas where inequality is highest when measured by land ownership generally are not the same areas that have high inequality as measured by asset wealth. Our metrics of gender inequality in land and wealth are not strongly correlated with existing metrics of poverty, development, and income inequality, and therefore provide new information to increase the understanding of one critical dimension of poverty across the globe.
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© 2016 Fisher, Naidoo.
Fisher B, Naidoo R. The geography of gender inequality. PLoS One. 2016 Mar 1;11(3):e0145778.