The interesting thing about this match is their social equality rankings closely match their rugby rating among the 20 countries competing. Italy ranks at 12th on our social indicators, and 11th on the IRB list, while Russia comes in at 20th and 19th respectively.
Russia is brought down on social equality by bottom-of-the-table rankings on transparency and the global peace index, and 18th on military spending. On other measures it rates a bit higher, but always in the lower half – its ‘best’ result (if you can call it that) is a 0.44 grade on the 0-1 gender inequality index. That puts it 12th out of the 17 we were able to grade on a table where Italy came out top at 0.25 (0 represents complete equality). Rather surprising, given the reported antics of Italy’s leader – Prime Minister Silvio Berlusconi.
Italy also scores high on the happy planet index, compensating for middling to poor rankings on other social indicators such as transparency, where its low score of 3.9 (top score of 10 represents no corruption) puts it at no 14.
It’s also least generous with its overseas aid among the richer nations. It currently allocates a paltry 0.15% of gross national income to aid, less than a quarter of the international target of 0.7%.
On field and off field, Italy strikes one as an erratic performer. Expect surprises, and I’m picking them to win in both the rugby and the social equality stakes in this match.
Martin de Jong is Communications and International Advocacy Coordinator for Caritas Aotearoa New Zealand.