India improves ranking in Global Gender Gap report of World Economic Forum

India has jumped to 87th position (out of 144 countries) in year 2016 from the 114th position (out of 142 countries) it had in year 2014 in global ranking of countries on an index that measures gender gap. This index is released by the World Economic Forum as part of its yearly Global Gender Gap report.

The report studies and analyses various indicators that capture how women are faring vis a vis men in various fields of life. It specifically focuses on economic participation (equal employment opportunity, wage parity), educational participation (literacy, enrolments for studies), health and survival (life expectancy, sex ratio), and political empowerment.

India has especially improved on the educational participation and political empowerment since the change in regime at the center.

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The latest report recognizes the efforts made by India in this by noting that the country could fully close its primary and secondary education enrolment gender gaps. So it appears that the ‘Beti Padhao’ campaign is working.

While the report lauds India for making key investments in women’s education, it cautions that nothing special has been done to remove barriers to women’s participation in the workforce. Due to this, India is not seeing returns on investments in terms of development of one half of her human capital.

The report says that India, among a few other counties, has “an educated but untapped talent pool and would have much to gain from women’s greater participation in the workforce”.

Other area of improvement and concern is the gender gap in health and survival sub-index. The report puts India, Armenia and China as the lowest-ranked countries. So it appears that “Beti Bachao” has to be primary focus of the government going forward.

But overall, India has shown improvement in ranking, which has always been below 100 since 2007, by securing 87th position this year.

In the same report, Pakistan is rated second worst in terms of gender gap by being ranked on the 143rd position.

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