India was ranked low at 108th position out of 144 countries in Global Gender Gap Index 2017 released as part of World Economic Forum’s (WEF) Global Gender Gap Report 2017. India slipped by 21 places compared to 87th rank last year.
Global Gender Gap Index
The index measures gender gap as progress towards parity between men and women in four indicators (i) Educational attainment, (ii) Health and survival, (iii) Economic opportunity and (iv) Political empowerment. Countries are ranked based scores on scale ranging from 0 (lowest i.e. imparity) to 1 (highest i.e. parity). It is released every year by WEF since 2006.
Key Highlights of Global Gender Gap Index 2017
Iceland is most gender-equal country with score of 0.878. It is followed by Norway (2 rank), Finland (3), Rwanda (4) and Sweden (5), Nicaragua (6) and Slovenia (7), Ireland (8), New Zealand (9) and the Philippines (10).
Overall 68% of global gender gap has been closed, but it is slight deterioration is seen compared to 2016 when gap closed was 68.3%. At current rate of progress, global gender gap will take 100 years to bridge, compared to 83 last year. The case is worse in terms of workplace gender divide as it will take 217 years to close.
India’s cumulative score was 0.669 down from 0.683 in 2016. India has successfully closed 67% of its gender gap, less than many of its international peers. India’s neighbours like Bangladesh ranked 47th, ranked at 100th.
Reasons for India’s lower ranking
It was mainly due to low scores in two indicators. They are (i) Health and Survival: India ranked 141 at bottom four. It was mainly due to India’s poor sex ratio at birth which still points to a strong preference for sons. (ii) Economic Participation and Opportunities for Women: India ranked 139, down from 136 last year.
India’s poor performance on economic front: It was due to fact that on an average, a woman in India is estimated to earn less than quarter of annual income earned by a man. She gets paid only 60% of what her male counterpart gets for similar work. Moreover, women account for over third of labour force participation, but their share of daily unpaid work (household chores, childcare etc.) is 65% while it is only 11% for men. Across sectors, only 13% of senior officials, managers and legislators are women.
Other factors: Fall in India’s ranking can be attributed to widening of its gender gaps in political empowerment as well as in healthy life expectancy and basic literacy. Though India succeeded in fully closing its primary and secondary education enrolment gender gaps and very near to closing its tertiary education gender gap, but its overall literacy rate still shows disparity between men (80%) and women (59%). Moreover, in case women holding top political positions, India’s ranks high at 15th position but the proportion of women in legislature is an abysmal 11%.