World Economic Forum (WEF) on 19 November 2015 released the Global Gender Gap Report 2015. It ranked 145 economies according to how well they are leveraging their female talent pool, based on economic, educational, health-based and political indicators.
As per the report, the global gender gap across health, education, economic opportunity and politics has closed by only 4 percent in the past 10 years suggesting it will take another 118 years to close this gap completely.
And, out of the 145 countries surveyed, while Iceland topped the Gender Gap Index for the seventh year in a row, India stood at the 108th position.
Main Highlights of the Global Gender Gap Report 2015
• Top 5 countries with high gender equality are Iceland (1), Norway (2), Finland (3), Sweden (4) and Ireland (5).
• Five countries with least gender equality are Iran (141), Chad (142), Syria (143), Pakistan (144) and Yemen (145).
• The Nordic countries still dominate the Global Gender Gap Index. Ireland is the highest placed non-Nordic country, ranking 5th. Rwanda (6), Philippines (7) and New Zealand (10) are the only non-European countries in the top 10; and the United States falls eight places to 28th.
• As compared to 2006, an extra quarter of a billion women have entered the labor force in 2015 that is pegged at 1.75 billion.
• The pay disparities still persists as women received annual earnings up to 11000 US dollars in 2015 compared to earnings of 21000 US dollars by men. Incidentally, men earned the same amount, 11000 US dollars, in 2006.
• Among the G20 countries, while India and Saudi Arabia have the lowest rate of labour participation (40 percent), the USA has the highest participation rate that is at around 80 percent.
• The report highlighted the education-employment-leadership mismatch. While more women than men are enrolling at university in 97 countries, women make up the majority of skilled workers in only 68 countries and the majority of leaders in only four.
• The biggest progress towards the closing the gender gap has been in the political world as 19 percent of all ministers and 18 percent of ministers are women in 2015. And, around 50 percent of countries have had a female head of state.
• It revealed the positive correlation between the progress in the economic and political worlds and affirmative actions such as quotas as it has been proved that the political participation rate is high in those countries where voluntary quotas for women are in force.
India’s performance in 2015
• With 0.664 points on the scale of 0 to 1, where 1 represents the complete equality, India was placed at the 108th position among the 145 countries surveyed. Compared to 2014 report, it accumulated 0.020 points and improved ranking by 6 places.
• In the last decade, between 2006 and 2015, gender parity in India has improved by 0.062 points.
• Economic Participation and Opportunity: In this segment, India’s performance was one of the lowest (139 rank) among the surveyed countries. While the labour force participation rate among women was 29 percent, it was 83 among men.
• Educational Attainment: Indian was placed at the 125th position among the 145 countries surveyed. Female literacy rate was pegged at 61 percent, while male literacy rate was 81 percent.
• Health and Survival: Compared to all other segments, India’s progress in terms of health and survival was the least (143 rank) among the surveyed countries. It was due to unfavorable sex ratio prevailing in the country.
• Political Empowerment: India stood at the 9th position in this segment as it is having 115 women in the Parliament and 51 in the ministerial positions. Further, India was also placed at the second best position in the world in the ‘years with female head of state’ category.
India and BRICS Countries
The ranks of BRICS Countries in ascending order are: South Africa (17), Russia (75), Brazil (85), China (91) and India (108). In fact, South Africa has been among the top 20 performing countries in the overall Index since 2006.
India and SAARC Countries
The ranks of SAARC Countries in ascending order are: Bangladesh (64); Sri Lanka (84); India (108); Nepal (110); Maldives (113); Bhutan (118) and Pakistan (144).
Global Gender Gap Index
• It was first published by World Economic Forum (WEF) in 2006 and the 2015 report was the 10th edition.
• While the survey was conducted only in 142 countries in 2014, it was extended to Gambia, Benin and Cameroon in 2015.
• The Gender Gap Index seeks to measure one important aspect of gender equality: the relative gaps between women and men across four key areas: health, education, economy and politics.
• Economic Participation and Opportunity sub index and Political Empowerment sub index display the full scale of 0.00 to 1.00 while the figures for the Health and Survival and Educational Attainment sub indexes display the scale only from 0.50 to 1.00 for improving visual clarity.
• There are three basic concepts underlying the Global Gender Gap Index, forming the basis of the choice of indicators, how the data is treated and the scale used.
• First, it focuses on measuring gaps rather than levels. Second, it captures gaps in outcome variables rather than gaps in input variables. Third, it ranks countries according to gender equality rather than women’s empowerment.
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