Which would make you happier- an Indian mission to Mars, or an India where all girls have access to education? The Indian Gender Gap in Pictures
We looked at the salient points from the latest Global Gender Report earlier this week. But further delving has led to a new slew of interesting insights (and questions) that we just had to share with you.
Why do we need gender parity in the first place?
If you want a happy and progressive nation you can’t ignore half of your population. As the report notes, there is a strong positive correlation between the Global Gender Gap Index and both the Global Competitiveness Indicator and Human Development Index. In addition, strong correlations have been seen between increased education with lower maternal mortality, lower infant mortality and higher education potential of the children. Basically, if you want your society to be productive and educated, start with educating the mothers. Also, as fertilities drop and the number of old people in a society increase, making women a productive part of your workforce can be a significant driver of overall economic growth. According to one study, greater female participation in the U.S. workforce since 1970 accounts for a quarter of current GDP.
Secondly, and we can’t reiterate this enough, India has the second worst gender gap on the Health and Survival index in the world. As a nation, we can take an unmanned vessel to the moon but have failed completely in ensuring that our 15-19 year old girls don’t get married or become mothers. Everyone knows how abysmal our sex ratios at birth are, but this disparity persists even after birth as women receive poorer access to health their entire lives. In contrast to India’s non-progress, 35 countries – including the likes of Nambia, South Africa, Vietnam and China – have succeeded in completely closing this gap.
Thirdly, women continue to do a significantly higher amount of unpaid work, with much lower labor force participation rates, and those that do join the labor force do not enjoy the successes owed to them, with only 7% participation by females in Boards of listed companies.
Fourthly, and this one may hurt the most, India ranks significantly lower than the countries it rates as global competitors on every other metric- be it the BRICS Nations. neighbours like Sri Lanka or aspirational Asian Champions like Singapore.
If we truly want to be a superpower to be reckoned with, perhaps we should start with educating our girls?