Women empowerment issues – Jobs,Reservation and education

[op-ed snap] Mind the gap: On gender gap


From UPSC perspective, the following things are important :

Prelims level : Gender Gap Index

Mains level : Closing the gender gap


Assessing women’s access to equal opportunity and resources against the access that men have would be a scientific way of evaluating commitment to the advancement of its citizens. Going by the World Economic Forum’s Global Gender Gap Index 2020, questions can be raised whether this government is doing the right thing. 

State of India

  • Drop in ranks – India has dropped four points from 2018, to take the 112th rank on the Index. 
  • Index – The index measures the extent of gender-based gaps on four key parameters — economic participation and opportunity, educational attainment, health and survival, and political empowerment. 
  • Access – It measures gender-based gaps in access to resources and opportunities in countries, rather than the actual levels of the available resources and opportunities. 
  • The extent of the gap – India has closed two-thirds of its overall gender gap, with a score of 66.8%.
  • Concern – the report notes with concern that the condition of women in large fringes of Indian society is ‘precarious’. 
  • Economic gap – with a score of 35.4%, at the 149th place, and down seven places, indicates that only a third of the gap has been bridged.
  • The participation of women in the labor force is also among the lowest in the world, and the female estimated earned income is only one-fifth of male income
  • Health – An alarming statistic is India’s position (150th) on the very bottom of the Health and Survival subindex. This is due to the skewed sex ratio at birth, violence, forced marriage, and discrimination in access to health. 
  • On the educational attainment (112th rank) and political empowerment (18th rank) fronts, the relatively good news is buried.

Way ahead

  • Not enough – Doing what the government is currently doing is clearly not going to be sufficient.
  • It needs to engage intimately with all aspects indicated by the Index to improve the score and set targets to reduce the gender gap in the foreseeable future. 
  • It will have to scale up efforts to encourage women’s participation and increase opportunities for them.
  • A commitment to ameliorate the conditions for women is a non-negotiable duty of any state.
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