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Hierarchical means arranged as a hierarchy - ranked one above the other, with the one above being more important than the one below. The five levels of the Women's Equality and Empowerment Framework are described as "hierarchical" because in some ways each "higher level is more important than the one below. For example, gender inequality in welfare is caused by gender inequality in access, which then raises the discussion to a more important and quite different level of discussion. These are five levels of analysis and not five stages of development process. Any development problem has these five dimensions within it, and a project must address gender issues progressively at these levels if women's development is to make progress.
The Human Development Index measures a country's achievements in three aspects of human development: longevity, knowledge, and a decent standard of living. Longevity is measured by life expectancy at birth; knowledge is measured by a combination of the adult literacy rate and the combined gross primary, secondary, and tertiary enrolment ratio; and standard of living, as measured by GDP per capita (PPP US$).