Assessing Inequalities

Inequality is multidimensional and experienced in many forms in different areas of life. Our framework defines seven domains in which inequalities can be observed and evaluated through specific indicators and measures with different variables of disaggregation. Measuring and assessing inequalities can be a challenging task.
Watch this short video to discover what you can find in this section.


What inequalities do you want to assess?

One of the first steps you may want to take in the process of applying the MIF is to reflect on whether you will look at all domains, and fully, or not. In other words, what expressions of inequality do you want to focus your efforts on? You will also need to make decisions on which indicators you want to use to measure inequalities. Doing a consultation with key stakeholders, checking the availability of data, and deciding whether you will explore the areas you are less familiar with, are all aspects that can help your decision-making.

Dealing with indicators and measures

Once you have your selection of domains, sub-domains, indicators and measures, you need to be ready to deal with data challenges. Learn more about measuring inequalities, where to find data and what to do to overcome problems with data, including options for undertaking data advocacy.

The framework provides different types of quantitative measures to capture many aspects of inequalities. There are objective and subjective measures, some looking at the different outcomes between groups, some at differences due to income levels, or some directly capturing dispersion. Also you will need a minimum level of disaggregation of data, showing results based on socio-economic status, gender, race, age, origin/citizenship, geographical location, or other identity-based factors relevant in your context.

Check the list of data resources that we recommend to explore for each of the domains.

For many countries data gathering can be a major challenge and result in many “data gaps”. However, the framework can still be applied in different ways. An important task is to select the indicators that work best for your country and to exhaust all the secondary data sources available. For the remaining data gaps, you have several options: do your own primary surveys, do qualitative research or get involved in data advocacy!

Making sense of data

Once you have gathered your data, you will need to work to make sense of it. Here are some useful questions to help you reach conclusions:
  • In which domains are you observing the most concerning levels and types of inequalities?
  • Across domains, which groups appear to be the most negatively affected by a range of inequalities?
  • What connections can you identify across domains and outcomes?
  • What trends – in terms of variations of outcomes – are improving or worsening?
  • How does your country compare with other similar countries?
Remember... Intersecting inequalities matter
Inequalities are deeply intertwined. When economic deprivation intersects with identity-based discrimination and spatial disadvantages, we talk about “intersecting inequalities”. Groups and individuals at these intersections experience disadvantages, emerging from social relations of power, in several dimensions that undermine their capabilities.
Some questions to guide your analysis can be: What groups and geographies are predominantly negatively affected? What are the most common factors correlated with large inequality gaps? How do different combinations of characteristics explain these differences? What connections can you identify across domains and outcomes?