The index ranks 132 countries according to the degree to which they achieve inclusivity across group identities, including race, ethnicity, religion, gender, disability, and sexual orientation.
Norway took the top spot in the 2019 Inclusiveness Index along with The Netherlands and Sweden.
“Norway has constantly been one of the top three countries with high inclusiveness since 2016, the first year we reported these rankings,” Samir Gambhir, one of the co-authors of the report, told The Local via email.
“It has been at number 5, based on our methodology and data inputs, for being highly inclusive for women, for (the) LGBT community, and for the general population. Norway has scored highest in race and disability categories, and is in tie with many other countries mainly due to limited number of indicators and data in these categories,” Gambhir added.
Norway also fared highly based on inclusiveness indicators such as political rights (third-best), percentage of members of parliament who belong to LGBT community (fifth-best), female to male income ratio (number 7) and the index on anti-discrimination laws against the LGBT community (number 8), the co-author also noted.
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Countries as diverse as Ecuador, Lesotho and Albania also ranked in the highest category.
Indicators that are measured in the index prioritize laws and policies over investments drawn from economic growth, allowing poorer nations to fare just as well or better than wealthier counterparts.
Countries that rank highly in inclusivity provide greater access to power and resources to groups that span societal gaps.
“The Index helps us see not only how countries are faring relative to each other, but also how they are doing over time,” Gambhir said via an Othering & Belonging Institute press release.
“India, for example, has moved lower in our ranking since 2016, likely in part due to deteriorating religious cohesion, increased gender-based discrimination, and declining political representation for minority communities,” he added.
In addition to ranking nations and US states, the researchers also highlight global stories and issues that promote or challenge inclusion. Earlier versions of the report highlighted the global migration crisis and the #MeToo movement, while the 2019 edition spotlights the ways that social media platforms are manipulated to spread hate and fear.
Among other issues, the report delves into the ways in which state and non-state actors have spread propaganda and inflamed reactions through false stories.
“At a time of rising ethno-nationalism and closing borders, this Index is a timely and important measure of how the countries we live in are performing relative to each other,” co-author Stephen Menendian said in the press statement.
“The findings are simultaneously hopeful and dispiriting, a reminder of progress and how much more we can do.”
The Othering & Belonging Institute at UC Berkeley is a research institute bringing together scholars, community stakeholders, policymakers and communicators.