February 21, 2018

Asia slips in gender equality ranking

03 November 2017, 12:30 | Rodolfo Wallace

The gulf is still huge

The gulf is still huge

"With more than 50 years having passed since the inauguration of the nation's first female prime minister in 1966, maintaining its global top 20 ranking on the Political Empowerment subindex will require India to make progress on this dimension with a new generation of female political leadership", WEF report added.

Globally also for the first time since the WEF began measuring the gap across four pillars - health, education, the workplace and political representation - the global gap has actually widened. However, the report found the State has closed 79 per cent of its overall gender gap.

Last year's report lauded the Republic for "improvements" on political empowerment due to an increase in the number of women in parliament.

While India's economic participation, educational attainment and political empowerment ratio speaks of female proportion to male in society its "health and survival" ratio speaks of sex ratio at birth (converted to female-over-male ratio).

Thursday's report said that at the current rate of progress, it would now take a full 100 years on average to achieve overall gender equality.

So American women may want to cross the border into Canada, which ranked 16th this year, up drastically from 35th place in 2016.

Ranked 100 overall, China was No. 144-dead last-for gender parity when it came to women's health.

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Globally, software and IT services, manufacturing and healthcare industries have shown the highest increases, while the energy and mining sector ranked among the lowest, it added. The latter two are of particular concern because they already carried the largest gaps and, until this year, were registering the fastest progress.

On top of that, women were spending about 44.6 per cent of their non-work hours on unpaid work such as looking after their families while the figure for men was 18.9 per cent.

The top spots in the gender gap index were dominated by Scandinavian countries, with Iceland placed at first, Finland at second and Norway at third.

60 countries this year saw a decrease in their score, meaning equality worsened.

The report noted that it will take 217 years to end the workplace gender divide. However, it is not keeping pace with the progress made by other countries, says Saadia Zahidi, Head of the Education, Gender and Work System Initiative at the World Economic Forum (WEF).

Finally, the distribution of care work also exacerbates gender gaps, according to the WEF index.

The picture is not all bleak: the march towards gender equality in education could reach the finish line within a mere 13 years, it said.

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