illustration for Domain 7: Individual, family and social life

Individual, family and social life: Inequality in the capability to enjoy individual, family and social life, to express yourself and to have self-respect


Description

The capability to enjoy individual, family and social life, to express yourself, have self-respect, avoid loneliness and social isolation is fundamental for people to achieve a good quality of life. The freedom to develop as a person, form intimate relationships and to enjoy equality within these relationships are important aspects of individuals' personal lives. Measures include perceptions of freedom of choice and control over the way life turns out, ability to practice religion or beliefs without facing hostility. The domain includes inequality measures in relation to loneliness, self-confidence, self-respect and self-esteem.

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People need to be free to formulate and pursue goals and objectives for themselves, to develop as a person through freedom of expression and to live without fear of humiliation, harassment, or abuse based on who they are. Not everyone is free to develop as a person in this way and important inequalities exist between different groups of people in many countries. This can have a negative impact on self-confidence, self-respect and self-esteem. Differences in personal resources, legal frameworks, social norms, treatment by those in authority or with care responsibilities, social recognition, and discrimination based on personal characteristics can play an important role in shaping these inequalities. Discrimination can take many forms, including discrimination based on: sexual identity (UN HRC, 2015); health status such as HIV/AIDS (Visser and Sipsma, 2013); race; gender, as well as intersectional forms of discrimination (Hill Collins and Bilge, 2016). Recent research has shown that roughly a quarter of the world’s countries are still grappling with high levels of religious hostilities (Pew Research Center, 2015). Measures in this domain include perceptions of freedom of choice and control over the way life turns out, ability to practice religion or beliefs without facing hostility, and control over making personal decisions.

In the family and relationship sphere, the ability to form intimate relationships and a family and to enjoy independence and equality in primary relationships, underpinned by freedom in matters of sexual relations and reproduction, are all important for individual well-being. This domain includes measures to capture inequalities in autonomy with regards to primary relationships and the ability to enjoy family life in the context of global (and local) displacement and international migration.

In the social sphere, it is important to be able to form friendships, have time to spend with, and care for, friends and family and to be able to celebrate special occasions and cultural events. Equally knowing that there is someone who will look out for you and care for you in times of need is important for personal well-being. Contact with the wider community can strengthen social connections and enhance social lives. Engagement in cultural and religious practices with other members of your chosen group or groups is important for developing and maintaining cultural and religious identities. Loneliness is a risk factor for poor health and mortality (Hawkley and Cacioppo, 2010) and is more prevalent among some groups than others. The elderly, particularly those living alone are particularly at risk but rates vary between countries (Hansen and Slagsvold, 2016). Another group who are more likely to experience loneliness are migrants, especially those separated from partners and families (van de Broek and Grundy, 2017). The domain includes measures capturing inequality in these aspects of social life.

References and selected readings

Hansen, T. and Slagsvold, B. (2016). ‘Late-life loneliness in 11 European countries: Results from the Generations and Gender Survey’, Social Indicators Research, 129(1): 445–464. DOI:10.1007/s11205-015-1111-6.

Hawkley, L.C. and Cacioppo, J.T. (2010). ‘Loneliness matters: A theoretical and empirical review of consequences and mechanisms’, Annals of Behavioral Medicine, 40(2): 218–227. DOI:10.1007/s12160-010-9210-8.

Hill Collins, P., and Bilge, S. (2016). Intersectionality, Cambridge: Polity.

Pew Research Center (2015), ‘Latest Trends in Religious Restrictions and Hostilities, Pew Research Center report

Renger, D., and Simon, B. (2011). ‘Social recognition as an equal: The role of equality‐based respect in group life’, Special Issue: The Centrality of Social Image in Social Psychology, 41, 4, pp 501-507. DOI: 10.1002/ejsp.814

UN HRC (2015). Discrimination and violence against individuals based on their sexual orientation and gender identity, UN Human Rights Council A/HRC/29/23

van den Broek, T., and Grundy, E. (2017). ‘Loneliness among Polish migrants in the Netherlands: the impact of presence and location of partners and offspring’, Demographic Research, 37 (23). pp. 727-742. ISSN 1435-9871

Visser M., and Sipsma H. (2013). ‘The Experience of HIV-Related Stigma in South Africa’, in: Liamputtong, P. (eds) Stigma, Discrimination and Living with HIV/AIDS. Springer, Dordrecht


Measurement considerations

Inequality measures in this domain include perceptions (for example, freedom of choice and control), experience (for example, experience of religious hostility) and incidence (for example, getting married at an early age (before 15 and 18 years). Some measure inequality in ordinal variables such as self-esteem, self-confidence and loneliness.

A number of the inequality measures included in this domain will not be found in official statistics but household surveys are a good source of information.

 

Click on the button beside each sub-domain to see related indicators, inequality measures and references to any relevant UN Sustainable Development Goal (SDG) indicators. You may click on the Expand All button to view all inequality indicators, their measures and SDG indicators within each of the sub-domains.

 

Sub-domains:
Freedom to develop as a person, maintain dignity, self-respect, self-esteem and self-confidence; freedom to express yourself
Indicator:
Personal autonomy and freedom to develop as a person and live the life you choose
     Measures:

Percentage who feel able to be themselves: (a) with their family, (b) with friends, and (c) in public

Percentage who feel able to practice their religion or beliefs freely

Percentage who feel that they have freedom of choice and control over the way their life turns out

Percentage who feel that they have sufficient control in making personal decisions that affect their everyday activities

Inequality in life satisfaction


Indicator:
Have freedom from stigma, harassment and discrimination; enjoy dignity and self-respect, self-esteem and self-confidence
     Measures:

Inequality in self-esteem - using for example, the Rosenberg self-esteem scale (RSES)

Reference: UN SDG:
10.3.1

Proportion of population reporting having personally felt discriminated against or harassed in the previous 12 months on the basis of a ground of discrimination prohibited under international human rights law

16.B.1

Proportion of population reporting having personally felt discriminated against or harassed in the previous 12 months on the basis of a ground of discrimination prohibited under international human rights law

Inequality in self-confidence

Inequality in the experiences of dignity and respect

Percentage of the population reporting having personally felt discriminated against or harassed within the previous 12 months on the basis of a ground of discrimination prohibited under international human rights law

Reference: UN SDG:
10.3.1

Proportion of population reporting having personally felt discriminated against or harassed in the previous 12 months on the basis of a ground of discrimination prohibited under international human rights law

16.B.1

Proportion of population reporting having personally felt discriminated against or harassed in the previous 12 months on the basis of a ground of discrimination prohibited under international human rights law

Percentage of the population reporting that the city or area where they live is a good place or not a good place to live for (a) immigrants from other countries; (b) gay or lesbian people

Group Grievance indicator. Discrimination, powerlessness, ethnic violence, communal violence, sectarian violence, and religious violence, measured on a scale on 0 (low pressures) to 10 (very high pressures).

Reference: UN SDG:
10.3.1

Proportion of population reporting having personally felt discriminated against or harassed in the previous 12 months on the basis of a ground of discrimination prohibited under international human rights law

16.B.1

Proportion of population reporting having personally felt discriminated against or harassed in the previous 12 months on the basis of a ground of discrimination prohibited under international human rights law

Percentage experiencing religious hostility


Form and maintain intimate relationships, friendships and a family; enjoy independence and equality in primary relationships, including marriage, be confident that they will be treated with dignity and respect
Indicator:
Being able to form and pursue the relationships you want, free to make decisions on when to form and start a family, live as a family and have a say on family life
     Measures:

Percentage for whom others decide on their behalf who they form their primary relationship with

Percentage of women aged 20-24 years who were married or in a union before age 15 and before age 18

Reference: UN SDG:
5.3.1

Proportion of women aged 20-24 years who were married or in a union before age 15 and before age 18

Percentage of women aged 15-49 years who make their own informed decisions regarding sexual relations, contraceptive use and reproductive health care

Reference: UN SDG:
5.6.1

Proportion of women aged 15-49 years who make their own informed decisions regarding sexual relations, contraceptive use and reproductive health care

Percentage of children who maintain contact with non-resident parent after parental separation


Enjoy family life, including in the context of global displacement and international migration
Indicator:
Enjoy family life in the context of global displacement and international migration
     Measures:

Percentage or number separated from family due to displacement, migration and work


Spend time with others including wider family and know that there is someone who can be counted on when help is needed
Indicator:
Having social support and freedom from social isolation
     Measures:

Percentage meeting relatives or friends at least once a week

Percentage who feel lonely

Percentage who in times of trouble have relatives or friends who they can count on to help when needed


Be free to enjoy a social life, engage in cultural and other valued activities (including voluntary work)
Indicator:
Being able to participate in key social and cultural occasions which matter to you
     Measures:

Percentage who say they have been unable to participate in important social or cultural occasions and reasons why