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My objectivity is better than yours: contextualising debates about gender inequality

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jats:titleAbsract</jats:title>jats:pIn this paper, we contribute to a growing literature in the philosophy of social science cautioning social scientists against context-independent claims to objectivity, by analyzing the recent proposal of a new Basic Index of Gender Inequality (BIGI) by Gijsbert Stoet and David Geary. Despite the many internal problems with BIGI, Stoet and Geary have had some success in positioning the index as an important corrective to the way in which gender inequality is measured in mainstream metrics like the Global Gender Gap Index (GGGI). We argue that this success is facilitated at least in part by the failure of GGGI’s proponents to adequately justify the methodological choices underpinning the index in relation to the context in which the index’s findings are intended to be used. In so doing, the authors of GGGI oversell the objectivity of the metric’s assessment of the state of global gender inequality—and it is this overselling that allows Stoet and Geary to present BIGI as a metric that corrects what they claim are systematic biases within GGGI. The case of BIGI and GGGI, we argue, suggests that the kind of epistemic modesty exhibited by recent operational approaches to objectivity is particularly important for social research on highly politically contested topics.</jats:p>


Funder: H2020 European Research Council; doi:


Objectivity, Gender inequality, Social indices, Context, Bias

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Springer Science and Business Media LLC
European Research Council (715530)