Gender Gap Report 2022

JUL 22

Mains   > Society   >   Role of women   >   Women and Child issues

IN NEWS:

  • Recently, the Global Gender Gap Index for 2022 was released by the World Economic Forum (WEF), and it ranks India at 135 out of 146 countries. In 2021, India was ranked 140 out of 156 countries.

GENDER GAP INDEX:

  • The Global Gender Gap Index benchmarks the evolution of gender-based gaps among four key dimensions and tracks progress towards closing these gaps over time.
  • The four dimensions are:
    1. Economic Participation and Opportunity
    2. Educational Attainment
    3. Health and Survival
    4. Political Empowerment
  • The report measures women's disadvantage compared to men.
  • The highest possible score is 1 (equality) and the lowest possible score is 0 (inequality).

KEY FINDINGS OF GENDER GAP REPORT 2022:

  • In 2022, the global gender gap has been closed by 68.1%.
  • At the current rate of progress, it will take 132 years to reach full parity. This represents a slight four-year improvement compared to the 2021 estimate (136 years to parity).
  • South Asia will take the longest to reach gender parity, which is estimated to be likely in 197 years.
  • Although no country achieved full gender parity, the top 10 economies closed at least 80% of their gender gaps, with Iceland (90.8%) leading the global ranking.
    • Iceland was the only economy to have closed more than 90% of its gender gap.
    • Other Scandinavian countries such as Finland (86%, 2nd), Norway (84.5%, 3rd) and Sweden (82.2%, 5th) are in the top five.
  • In 2022, India’s overall score has improved from 0.625 (in 2021) to 0.629.
  • The report notes that India’s score of 0.629 was its seventh-highest score in the last 16 years.
  • India ranks poorly among its neighbours and is behind Bangladesh (71), Nepal (96), Sri Lanka (110), Maldives (117) and Bhutan (126). Only Iran (143), Pakistan (145) and Afghanistan (146) perform worse than India in south Asia.
  • India is the worst performer in the world in the “health and survival” sub-index where it is ranked 146.
  • India’s position on different sub-indices:

REASONS FOR INDIA’S POOR PERFORMANCE IN THE INDEX:

  • Social conditioning:
    • The nurturing in a patriarchal society like India does not factor in the elements of gender equality and sensitivity.
    • Women are considered subordinate to men and are stereotyped as the caretaker of family.
  • Economic dependence:
    • The absence of education and employment facilities for women curtails their ability to sustain themselves economically.
    • This perpetrates a cycle of poor socio-economic outcomes for women.
  • Political hesitancy:
    • Women in India have performed remarkably in the Panchayat level due to reservation of 33% seats to them.
    • However, successive governments have been hesitant to pass the Women's Reservation Bill which aims to reserve 33 percent seats in Lok Sabha and all state legislative assemblies for women.
  • Weak law enforcement:
    • Despite having several laws to protect and empower women, their enforcement remains weak. For eg: Despite having a law prohibiting sex selective abortion, between 2013 and 2017 about 460,000 girls in India were ‘missing' at birth each year. (The term "missing women" indicates a shortfall in the number of women relative to the expected number of women in a region or country.)
  • Delayed justice:
    •  With over 3.4 crore pending cases, ours is one of the slowest judicial systems in the world.
    • Hence, women suffering from gender discriminations and violence have no avenue for grievance redressal.
  • Deficit of basic infrastructures:
    • The lack of sufficient toilet facilities, limited transport facilities and long distances to workplace & schools increase the vulnerability to violence against women.
  • Glass ceiling at workplaces:
    • Due to preference for men and difference in pay, women find it difficult to progress in their career.
    • This is evident from the fact that only 14.6 per cent women occupy senior managerial position in India, and only 8.9 per cent when it comes to top management. This in turn results in low labour force participation rates among women.
  • Digital divide:
    • The latest NFHS report showed that only 42% of Indian women surveyed have ever used the internet, compared with 62% of men. Hence, women are being marginalized from the benefits of a digital India.
  • COVID pandemic:
    • The pandemic has amplified the gender bias in India.
    • Women are bearing a disproportionate amount of the burden that the imposition of lockdowns and shrinking of economic opportunity has created. For instance, in the “The Inequality Virus”, Oxfam India reported 17 million women lost their job in April 2020.

MAJOR GOVERNMENT INITIATIVES TO REDUCE GENDER GAP:

1. Economic Participation and Opportunity:

  • Gender Budgeting
  • Rashtriya Mahila Kosh: provides micro-credit to poor women for various livelihood support and income generating activities
  • Mahila-E-Haat: A bilingual online marketing platform that leverages technology to help aspiring women entrepreneurs.
  • Rajiv Gandhi National Creche Scheme
  • Scheme of Working Women Hostel

2. Health and Survival:

  • Beti Bachao Beti Padhao Scheme
  • UJJAWALA: A Comprehensive Scheme for Prevention of trafficking and Rescue, Rehabilitation and Re-integration of Victims of Trafficking and Commercial Sexual Exploitation
  • SWADHAR Greh (A Scheme for Women in Difficult Circumstances)
  • NIRBHAYA fund

3. Educational Attainment:

  • Mahila Shakti Kendras: to empower rural women with opportunities for skill development, employment, digital literacy, health and nutrition.
  • Knowledge Involvement in Research Advancement through Nurturing (KIRAN) Scheme for promoting women in science.

4. Political Empowerment:

  • Constitutionally mandated 33 percent reservation for women in local self-government bodies.

WAY FORWARD:

  • Gender sensitization: Long term strategies are essential to bring about large-scale gender sensitization. Sensitisation should be made a part of the school curriculum from primary school onwards.
  • Empower the community: There should be strong community driven measures to address the problem of culture of misogyny, aggressiveness and normalised gender discrimination.
  • Gender sensitive infrastructure: Public spaces and workplaces should be made safer for women. For the same, government should boost its efforts such as women police stations, pink police, better surveillance systems.
  • Effective law enforcement: Government should create legislations that empowers women, such as those assuring reservations in politics and ensure the effective equal pay for all and protection of women in society. This can begin with a review of workplaces to ensure implementation of the Sexual Harassment of Women at Workplace (Prevention, Prohibition and Redressal) Act, 2013. 
  • Faster delivery of justice: The government should look at establishment of courts specializing in crimes against women to expedite justice.

PRACTICE QUESTION:

Q. Gender gap report 2022 paints a gloomy picture of gender equality in India. In this context, discuss the factors responsible for gender inequality in the country and government initiatives to reduce the gender gap?