Opinion

Gender bender

R Srinivasan | Updated on March 10, 2018

Garo Young Boy and Girl with there Garo Traditional Dress during a Wangala Festival at Asanaggre 14 KM from Tura.On saturday.(Pixs By Vishma Thapa)

The world’s become better for women — or has it?

The so called ‘gender gap’ is narrowing. According to the World Economic Forum’s Global Gender Gap Report 2015, the gap between men and women in health, education, economic opportunity and political representation has closed by 4 per cent in the past 10 years. Worldwide, as many as 25 countries have closed the gap fully, achieving gender parity across all the four major pillars the survey looks at.

In fact, when it comes to education, women are actually beginning to take the lead. In as many as 100 countries, for instance, women now outnumber men when it comes to enrolment in university education. And if tomorrow’s world is going to be a knowledge economy, driven by brain power rather than brawn, then a larger number of better educated, and more highly skilled women entering the workforce is likely to lead to natural gender dominance.

All this should be good news for women. Only, if you dig a little deeper, it’s still very much a man’s world. In economic terms, the gap has been closing more slowly — by just 3 per cent over the past decade — with progress towards wage equality and labour force parity actually stalling since 2009.

Or take education. While the number of college-going women and women university graduates has soared, there is very little correlation between getting more women in education and their ability to earn a better living, particularly through skilled or leadership roles. In fact, just four countries reported a majority of women in leadership roles.

India, not surprisingly, is still pretty much at the bottom — 108 out of 145 countries surveyed, though it has gone up 6 places compared to last year. One area we are doing well is political empowerment, with India emerging as the region’s most-improved country on this score. It has actually regressed on Economic Participation and Opportunity and is the world’s least-improved country on the Health and Survival subindex.

Clearly, Union Minister of Women and Child Development Maneka Gandhi has her task cut out.

Senior Associate Editor

Published on November 20, 2015

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