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What We Measure

The United States Women, Peace, and Security Index: Dimensions, indicators, and rationale

Security (At the individual and community levels)

Intimate partner violence:

Percentage of women who have experienced physical or sexual violence or stalking by an intimate partner in the previous 12 months.

Rationale: Eliminating all forms of violence against women and girls is a prerequisite of women’s health, safety, and freedom.

Gun deaths:

Number of women who died from gun-related homicides or suicide in the past year per 100,000 women.

Rationale: Living free of the risk of gun violence is essential to individual and community well-being.

Healthcare affordability:

Percentage of women who reported being able to see a doctor in the past 12 months without financial constraint.

Rationale: High costs obstruct access to critical healthcare services for some Americans.

Community safety:

Percentage of women ages 18 and older who are not afraid to walk alone at night within a mile of their neighborhood.

Rationale: Security and safety in the community affect women’s mobility and opportunities in society.

Justice (Formal laws and discrimination)

Reproductive Healthcare Access:

Percentage of women ages 15 – 44 living in a county with a clinic that provides abortion services.

Rationale: Proximity to clinics providing abortion services enables women to exercise their right to choose.

Legal Protection:

Summary score based on whether state law provides the seven protections. View Legal Protections.

Rationale: Key laws are needed to realize protection from violence, economic opportunities, and reproductive healthcare access.

Discriminatory norms:

Percentage of men ages 18 and older who agree with the statement: “It is much better for everyone involved if the man is the achiever outside the home and the women take care of the home and family.”

Rationale: An important manifestation of gender discrimination is a lack of male support for women engaging equally in economic opportunities and work outside the home.

Maternal mortality:

Number of deaths from any cause related to or aggravated by pregnancy per 100,00 live births.

Rationale: Maternal mortality is a key indicator of women’s access to healthcare and the responsiveness of the healthcare system to their needs.

Inclusion (Economic, social, political)


Percentage of women ages 16 and older who are employed in full-time work (35+hours per week).

Rationale: Participation in employment captures economic opportunities and is central to realizing women’s capabilities.

Working Poor:

Percentage in poverty among women who worked 27 weeks or more in the past 12 months.

Rationale: Earning below a living wage is a major obstacle to the prospects of millions of Americans and their families.

State Legislature:

Percentage of seats held by women in both chambers of the state legislature.

Rationale: Political representation is key to inclusion and ensuring that women’s needs are heard and met.

College Degree:

Percentage of women ages 25 and older with a bachelor’s degree.

Rationale: Higher education is a gateway to economic opportunities and independence.