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Your Daily Read: More Sad News on the Gender Gap Front

Lowlights from the latest Gender Gap Report

India ranks 114th amongst the 142 countries included in the Global Gender Gap Report 2014. Our women earn lesser, live shorter lives and receive lesser education

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We’ve covered the Global Gender Gap Report in this place before, and it gives us no pleasure to report that India has slipped a further 13 places to 114 in this year’s iteration of the report.

The report looks at four different metrics of gender parity, and India was in the bottom 20 (of 142 countries) in all but one. Let’s explore further.

Economic Participation and Opportunity

India ranked 134th on this metric. Indian women are among the worst off  in the world when it comes to labour force participation or receiving equal wages for the same work done (Indian women at an average receive 0.56 of their male counterparts as per the WEF’s survey). Also interesting that an average Indian woman spends 352 minutes a day on unpaid work as opposed to just 52 minutes for the men. And the fact that women only make up 7% of the Boards of listed companies.

Educational Attainment

India performs dismally on this measure also; ranking 126th in the world, below countries as varied as Oman, Syria, China or Brazil.

Health and Survival

India is one of the two worst countries in the world when it comes to survival of women, with there being both an abysmal birth ratio and a poorer life expectancy of women. One of the facts that broke our heart was that as many as 3.28% of the girls give birth when they are still only 15-19 years old.

Political Empowerment

India ranks 15th on this measure, but this is not because of increased grass-roots participation of women politicians or due to more women in parliament (where we rank 111th); but because -thanks to Indira Gandhi’s reign- we rank 1st in the number of years with a female head of state.

We will be looking at the report in greater depth later this week, but for now we leave you with words from Shobhana Bhartia who writes as part of the report:

The main reason for the invisibility, vulnerability and dependency of women is that, in many societies, they are not deemed worthy of equal economic value, dignity and rights. This is part of our skewed social and cultural norms. So getting more women into the workforce is, as I see it, one of the vital steps towards empowerment. There is no reason why conditions cannot be made conducive for more women to enter the workforce.

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Photo Credit: simonella_virus via Compfight cc

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