Discrimination against the fairer sex has been witnessing a surge despite various tall claims by the incumbent government and the measures taken over the years. The hard fact is that mere statements have not worked as the action on ground was reported missing.
Due to this reason India has slipped 28 places to rank 140th among 156 countries as far as discrimination against the women goes. The World Economic Forum’s Global Gender Gap Report 2021 has listed India as the third-worst performer in South Asia.
According to the report, India has closed 62.5 per cent of its gender gap till date. The country had ranked 112th among 153 countries in the Global Gender Gap Index 2020.
Ironically, the decline has taken place on the economic participation and opportunity subindex, albeit to a lesser extent. India’s gender gap on this dimension widened by 3 per cent this year, leading to a 32.6 per cent gap closed till date.
Most of the decline occurred on the political empowerment subindex, where India regressed 13.5 percentage points, with a significant decline in the number of women ministers (from 23.1 per cent in 2019 to 9.1 per cent in 2021).
Among the drivers of this decline is a decrease in women’s labour force participation rate, which fell from 24.8 per cent to 22.3 per cent. In addition, the share of women in professional and technical roles declined further to 29.2 per cent. The share of women in senior and managerial positions also remains low: only 14.6 per cent of these positions are held by women and there are only 8.9 per cent firms with female top managers.
Surprisingly, the estimated earned income of women in India is only one-fifth compared to men, which puts the country among the bottom 10 globally on this indicator. Discrimination against women is also reflected in the health and survival subindex statistics. With 93.7 per cent of this gap closed to date, India ranks among the bottom five countries in this subindex.
Wide gaps in sex ratio at birth are due to the high incidence of gender-based sex-selective practices. In addition, more than one in four women has faced intimate violence in her lifetime, the report said.
India’s position has been quite degrading as many of its neighbours Bangladesh (rank 65), Nepal 106, Bhutan 130 and Sri Lanka 116 did much better in the overall ranking. India was close to Pakistan (rank 153) and Afghanistan at rank 156 making it the second-lowest performer on the index in south Asia.
Interestingly, India is home to 0.65 billion women, but given the way the policies have been implemented it has widened its gender gap from almost 66.8 per cent one year ago to 62.5 per cent this year.
In Pakistan and Afghanistan, the income of an average woman is below 16 per cent of that of an average man, while in India it is 20.7 per cent. This points out to severe lapses and lack of opportunities for women which if let to continue will spell disaster in the long run.