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Gender Parity- Analysis of Gender Gap Report 2020

The debate on equality and inequality is as old as human civilization. It has further deepened into the intellectual discourse with the advent of knowledge and technology-driven economy. In the intellectual climate and deeply rooted academic world, there is a plethora of diverse sets of opinions. Established thinkers and scholars like Smith, Piketty to Richard Wilkinson and many more, have intellectually argued for the advantages and disadvantages of having inequality and not having inequality in the society.

 The term inequality is viewed with the prism of many constructs like income inequality, social inequality, inequality based on gender and many more. When the discrimination is practiced based on gender, it’s unquestionable that it becomes highly disastrous for the overall advancement progress of any society and the nation as a whole. McKinsey Global Institute (MGI) in its 2018 report, stated that how advancing women’s equality can add $12 trillion to global growth and $700 billion to India’s growth by 2025. 

To monitor and measure the gap between men and women, World Economic Forum (WEF) publishes every year Gender Gap Report since 2006. The report gives lots of insights about the gender gap on the four key dimensions of the human being- Economic Participation and Opportunity; Education Attainment; Health and Survival and Political Empowerment. This year’s report has taken 153 countries across eight regions of the world. 

The WEF’s 2020 report has made some shocking observation. No country in the world has ever achieved full gender parity. To date 2020, the global gender gap is 68.6%. Meaning hereby, on an average 31.4% gap yet to be closed globally, which is expected to take another one century if progress at the current rate. All the top ten countries have closed the gap of at least 80% and the best performer- Iceland has closed 82% of the gap so far. Still, top-performing nations have to close the remaining gap of at least 20%. Out of 149 countries (taken in the last year’s report well), 101 countries have improved their score as compared to last year.  women-gender-gap-marketexpress-in

As compared to previous year ranking, the countries like Ethiopia (+35), Georgia (+25), Mexico (+25), Madagascar (+22), Spain (+21) have gained the most ranking while the countries like Cameroon (-39); Kenya (-33); Bahamas and Bulgaria (-31); Myanmar (-26)\

There is a significant diverse gap between the four different dimensions of the global gender gap. In the two sub-indexes namely- health and survival and educational attainment- only 3 and 4, percent gap (respectively) still needs to closed. In contrast to that, the difference between men and women on the Political Empowerment and Economic Participation and Opportunity have remained significantly larger. To date 2020, only around 25% and 58% gap have been closed so far on political empowerment and economic participation respectively. 

Political Empowerment is the most disturbing dimensions as far as gender parity is concerned. No country has fully closed this gap yet. Iceland (70% gap closed) – only county in the world where the presence of women across parliament, ministries, and heads of states is the most widespread as compared to all other countries in the world. Iceland’s score is 10% points more than the second ranked-Norway and is almost four times greater than the global average. Vanuatu and Papua are the two countries in the world, without a single woman member of parliament. The report also reveals that only 21% of total ministers (countries covered in this report) are women and there are 32 countries where women represent less than 10% of the minister in the office today. 

When it comes to the head of the states, the data are very pathetic. The report reveals that, over the past 50 years, there has never been a woman head of the state in 85 of 153 countries covered in this report. Interestingly, such condition is there in some emerging and advanced economies like- Italy, Japan, Mexico, Netherland, Russian Federation, South Africa, Spain, Sweden, and the United States.    

There is also a substantial gap between men and women when it comes to Economic Participation and Opportunity. The report reveals that globally only 58% of the gap has been closed so far, still, there is a gap of 42 percent to be closed. Even among the best and the worst (at the bottom of the ranking) performing countries, there is sharp dispersion (40%) in economic participation and opportunity. When it comes to the gap between men and women in the workplace, the top ten countries have closed at least 80% of the gap while the bottom ten countries have only closed 40% of the gap. women-gender-gap-india-marketexpress-in

India’s status is, in fact, worse than some of the countries (Bangladesh, Nepal, Sri Lanka) of South Asia. With the overall score of 0.668- which is less than the global average (0.685), it stands at 112th position globally and regionally (South Asia) at 4th positions in the Global Gender Gap Index. The data reveals that there is a huge disparity between men and women. Except for political empowerment dimensions, India’s score in the rest of the other dimensions is even less the average score of South Asia and the world. And in the dimensions like Economic Participation and Opportunity and Health and Survival, India stands at 5th and 4th position respectively from the bottom of the ranking.

Over the last 15 years (2006-2020), instead of rising, India’s ranking has dramatically downfallen from 98th position in the year 2006 to 112th positions in the year 2020. Over the same period, its ranks have significantly slipped in every dimension except Political Empowerment (improved two positions). Dimensions like Economic Participation and Opportunity and Health and Survival, have witnessed the incredible downfall- from 110th in 2006 to 149 in 2020 and 103rd in 2006 to 150th in 2020 (respectively).

Seeing such level of a skewed distribution of the gender gap in India, it propels the policymakers to reverse this situation. Although the task is not as easy. If India progresses at the current pace, it may take another more than half a century to eliminate the gap between men and women. On this Women’s Day on the 8th of March, let’s pledge to discourage female based discrimination and help in empowering women of our prosperous nation.