India struggles to bridge gender gap

India struggles to bridge gender gap

India came in at 113 among 135 countries in the latest gender gap rankings released by the Geneva-based World Economic Forum (WEF), standing near the bottom by most metrics used to gauge gender inequality barring one—political empowerment of women.

The index scores takes into account economic participation and opportunity, educational attainment, health and survival and political empowerment.

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Only in the last category did India figure among the Top 20 nations this year, with a ranking of 19, not surprisingly perhaps for a country where a woman (Pratibha Patil) is head of state and another (Sonia Gandhi) is leader of the ruling party.

Overall, India is the lowest-ranked of the so-called Bric (Brazil, Russia, India, China) economies featuring in the index.

Globally, 85% of the countries improved their gender equality ratios over the past six years, but, for the rest, the situation worsened, notably in Africa and South America, said the WEF, an independent, not-for-profit organization.

Nordic countries (Finland, Iceland, Norway and Sweden) continue to stay at the top of the rankings, Sweden) continue to stay at the top of the rankings, having closed over 80% of their gender gaps; countries at the bottom of the rankings still need to close as much as 50%.

“Smaller gender gaps are directly correlated with increased economic competitiveness," Saadia Zahidi, senior director, head of the WEF’s women leaders and gender parity programme and report co-author, said in a media statement.

“With the world’s attention on job creation and economic growth, gender equality is the key to unlocking potential and stimulating economies."