India slipped 21 places on the World Economic Forum’s (WEF) Global Gender Gap index to 108, behind neighbours China and Bangladesh, primarily due to less participation of women in the economy and low wages.
According to the WEF Global Gender Gap Report 2017, India has closed 67% of its gender gap, less than many of its international peers, and some of its neighbours like Bangladesh ranked 47th while China was placed at 100th.
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.
The findings in this year’s report showed that an overall 68% of the global gender gap has been closed. This is a slight deterioration from 2016 when the gap closed was 68.3%. At the current rate of progress, the global gender gap will take 100 years to bridge, compared to 83 last year.
At the top of the Global Gender Gap Index is Iceland. The country has closed nearly 88% of its gap. It has been the world’s most gender-equal country for nine years. Others in the top 10 include Norway (2nd), Finland (3rd), Rwanda (4) and Sweden (5), Nicaragua (6) and Slovenia (7), Ireland (8), New Zealand (9) and the Philippines (10).
In India, the workplace gender gap is reinforced by extremely low participation of women in the economy (136 out of the total 144 countries covered) and low wages for those who work (136th ranking for estimated earned income).
On a positive note, India succeeded in fully closing its primary and secondary education enrolment gender gaps for the second year running and for the first time has nearly closed its tertiary education gender gap. However, it continues to rank fourth-lowest in the world on health and survival, remaining the world’s least-improved country on this sub-index over the past decade.