Women empowerment issues – Jobs,Reservation and education

India needs to close the gender gap in education and politics  


From UPSC perspective, the following things are important :

Prelims level: Global Gender Gap Report

Mains level: Significance of Low Gender Gap in Education Sector and Political Representation

Why in the news?

While global gender parity has improved to 68.5% in 2024 from 68.4% in 2023, progress remains slow. The World Economic Forum’s report indicates it will take 134 years to achieve full parity at this rate.

The Global Gender Gap Report 2024

  • It is released by the World Economic Forum (WEF), and highlights significant disparities in gender parity across various sectors.

Present Scenario:

Global Gender Gap Report 2024: 

  • The global gender gap stands at 68.5% closed, indicating slow progress towards gender parity.
  • Iceland leads with over 90% closure, while India has slipped to 129th position out of 146 countries, with 64.1% closure.
  • India’s slight regression is attributed to declines in education and political empowerment indices.

Challenges in India:

  • Despite improvements in economic participation, India needs to bridge gaps in education and political representation.
  • The labour force participation rate for women is 45.9%, indicating significant untapped potential.
  • Gender disparity in literacy rates persists, with women lagging 17.2 percentage points behind men, impacting India’s global ranking.

Significance of Low Gender Gap in the Education Sector:

  • Bridging the gender gap in education is crucial for enhancing women’s economic opportunities.
  • Measures such as preventing dropout rates among girls, imparting job skills, and ensuring workplace safety are essential.
  • Improving literacy rates and educational attainment levels for women can lead to higher economic productivity and empowerment.

Significance of Low Gender Gap in Political Representation:

  • India shows low representation of women in political bodies despite some progress. Women constitute only 13.6% of the Lok Sabha members, reflecting inadequate political empowerment.
  • Implementation of the Women’s Reservation Bill, aimed at reserving one-third of seats in legislative bodies, remains crucial for enhancing women’s political participation and influence.

Way forward: 

  • Enhancing Education Access and Quality: Implement targeted policies to reduce the gender gap in education, focusing on increasing girls’ enrollment and retention rates.
  • Promoting Women’s Political Empowerment: Implement initiatives to encourage women’s active participation in politics, such as leadership training programs, awareness campaigns, and support networks.

Mains PYQ:

Q Can the vicious cycle of gender inequality, poverty and malnutrition be broken through microfinancing of women SHGs? Explain with examples. (UPSC IAS/2021)

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