Nur-Sultan, 6 March  –Today, the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) introduced a new Gender Social Norms Index (GSNI), which measures how social beliefs obstruct gender equality in areas like politics, work, and education. It contains data from 75 countries, covering over 80 per cent of the world’s population.

The analysis of the index suggests that a so-called “glass ceiling” affects all aspects of women’s lives – including the household – and that it is a construct of pervasive bias and prejudice against women held by both men and women worldwide. 

“Despite decades of progress closing the equality gap between men and women, 96 per cent of population in Kazakhstan hold some sort of bias against women, providing new clues to the invisible barriers women face in achieving equality”, said Yakup Beris, UNDP Resident Representative in Kazakhstan.   

According to the recent Human Development Report, gender gap in Kazakhstan is closing for basic inequalities in areas like education and health; yet, the “power gap” still exists in the political system. The national statistics shows that only 21.9 per cent of parliamentary seats are held by women, and only 11.7 per cent of women are at civil service positions in the Government of Kazakhstan. Furthermore, women in the labour market are paid less than men: in 2018, the gender pay gap in Kazakhstan was 34.2 per cent. And while women work more hours than men, this work is more likely to be unpaid care work.

As for the global perspectives, the index shows that about half of the world’s men and women feel that men make better political leaders, and over 40 per cent feel that men make better business executives and that men have more right to a job when jobs are scarce. 28 per cent think it is justified for a man to beat his wife. 

2020 marks the 25th anniversary of the Beijing Declaration and Platform for Action (Beijing+25), the most visionary agenda on women’s empowerment to date.

UNDP is calling on governments and institutions to use a new generation of policies to change these discriminatory beliefs and practices through education, and by raising awareness and changing incentives; for instance, by using taxes to incentivize fairly sharing child-care responsibilities, or by encouraging women and girls to enter traditionally male-dominated sectors such as the armed forces and information technology.


For more information, please contact the UNDP Communications Office in Kazakhstan by e-mail: or tel. +7 (7172) 696544 (ext. 2402, 2404).


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The Gender Social Norms Index captures how social beliefs can obstruct gender equality along multiple dimensions— political, educational, economic and physical integrity. It is constructed based on responses to seven questions from the World Values Survey, which are used to create seven indicators. The Index is available for 75 countries, covering 81 percent of the world’s population. Trends over time are available for 31 countries covering 59 per cent of the global population.

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