The economic gender gap narrowed in 2018, however, access to health and education, and political empowerment suffered reversals. Global gender gap will take 108 years to close while economic gender parity remains 202 years off.
The World Economic forum released its Global Gender Gap Report 2018, reviewing 149 countries on their gender parity and listing them. According to the report, the world has closed 68% of its gender gap. At the current rate of change, the data suggest that it will take 108 years to close the overall gender gap and 202 years to bring about parity in the workplace.
All the 149 countries are ranked, since 2006, on the basis of four thematic dimensions- Economic Participation and Opportunity, Educational Attainment, Health and Survival, and Political Empowerment.
Holding its top spot for past 10 years, Iceland with a score of 0.858 topped the charts in 2018 too. Other 4 Nordic states crowd the first 4 spots in the list which shows that policies in these countries are working well for the Nordic women. Progressive childcare policies, Parental Leave policy, strong political presence in their Parliaments have paved way for empowering women in these nations.
After six years of progress, this year the gap widened in sub-Saharan Africa. Across the 33 countries surveyed there is a wide disparity. Rwanda and Namibia, for example, were ranked in the top 10 countries for gender parity. Rwanda sits alongside Nordic countries, the Philippines and New Zealand at having closed 80% of the gap. However, the achievement is mixed. Despite its high ranking, Rwanda has in fact regressed two spots due to a widening gap in economic participation, with worsening wage income. On the other hand, Namibia entered the top ten for the first time thanks to the number of seats women hold in parliament.
Among the G20 group of countries, France leads in 12th place, followed by Germany (14th), United Kingdom (15th), Canada (16th) and South Africa (19th), United States (51st), and six countries below 100- China (103rd), India (108th), Japan (110th), Korea (115th) Turkey (130th) and Saudi Arabia (141st).
South Asia is the second-lowest-scoring region, with a remaining gender gap of 34.2%, ahead of the Middle East and North Africa, and behind sub-Saharan Africa. Among other South Asian countries, India fetched fourth place with top 3 being Bangladesh (48th), Sri Lanka (100th) and Nepal (105th).
India was ranked 108th in the Global Gender Gap Index 2018, same as it was ranked in 2017
In terms of economic opportunity and participation, India ranked 142nd out of 149 countries. Moreover, India continued to rank third-lowest in the world on health and survival, remaining the world’s least-improved country on this sub index. It dangerously points to higher deaths of female babies in the country.
Though India made no improvement in the overall gender gap ranking, it recorded improvement in wage equality and managed to fully close its tertiary education gender gap for the first time.
Despite many government policies like Beti Padhao, Beti Bachao(girl child education), Sukanya samridhi account(financial tool) or Mission Indradhanush (Medical care) and many more, the involvement of Indian Girl/women in many spheres remains stagnant. Global body like UN highlights that “deeply rooted social norms” are stopping women empowerment in India.
UNICEF’s Deputy Executive Director Omar Abdi says,” There are some inter-connected social issues that need to be addressed which could be done through education and government policies like cash transfer schemes,” he further added,” There are some deeply related issues associated with gender on how society addresses girls in comparison to boys that need to be addressed and will take time. What is needed to be added is the stimulation component, responsive caring for parents to be taught.”