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Gender Gap Index: India falls to 112th position

Date: 17 December 2019 Tags: Reports & Indices


India has slipped four places to rank 112th globally in terms of gender gap amid widening disparity in terms of women’s health and survival and economic participation.



The Gender Gap Index assesses countries on how well they are dividing their resources and opportunities among their male and female populations, regardless of the overall levels of these resources and opportunities. 



  • While Iceland remains the world’s most gender-neutral country, India has moved down the ladder from its 108th position last year on the World Economic Forum’s Gender Gap Report to rank below countries like China (106th), Sri Lanka (102nd), Nepal (101st), Brazil (92nd), Indonesia (85th) and Bangladesh (50th). Pakistan is at 151st position.

  • The time it will take to close the gender gap narrowed to 99.5 years in 2019. It is an improvement from 2018 when the gap was calculated to take 108 years to close.

  • It still means parity between men and women across health, education, work and politics will take more than a lifetime to achieve.

  • Worldwide, women now hold 25.2% of parliamentary lower-house seats and 21.2% of ministerial positions, compared to 24.1% and 19%, respectively last year.

  • The economic opportunity gap has worsening and has widened to 257 years compared to 202 years last year.

  • The report said one of the greatest challenges to closing this gap is women’s under-representation in emerging roles, such as cloud computing, engineering and data and AI.

  • India’s rank has worsened in 3 out of the four metrics used. India has improved to 18th place on political empowerment, it has slipped to 150th on health and survival, to 149th in terms of economic participation and opportunity and to 112th place for educational attainment.

  • On health and survival, four large countries, Pakistan, India, Vietnam and China fare badly with millions of women there not getting the same access to health as men.

  • The WEF said India has closed two-thirds of its overall gender gap, but the condition of women in large fringes of India’s society is precarious and the economic gender gap runs particularly deep.

  • One of the interestin trend observed is that India is the only country among the 153 countries studied where the economic gender gap is larger than the political one.

  • India ranks high on the political empowerment sub-index, largely because the country was headed by a woman for 20 of the past 50 years. But, female political representation today is low as women make up only 14.4% of Parliament (122nd rank globally) and 23% of the cabinet (69th).

  • The WEF said one positive development is the possibility that a ‘role model effect’ may be starting to have an impact in terms of leadership and possibly also wages.

Global Gender Gap                         

The Global Gender Gap measure was introduced by the World Economic Forum to examine four critical areas of inequality between men and women: 

  • Economic participation and opportunity – outcomes on salaries, participation levels and access to high-skilled employment

  • Educational attainment – outcomes on access to basic and higher level education

  • Political empowerment – outcomes on representation in decision-making structures

  • Health and survival – outcomes on life expectancy and sex ratio

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