With four parameters, the gender gap in 156 nations was studied in 2021. It says it will take 135.6 years to bridge the gender gap worldwide… India is at 140th rank among 156 nations. It has slipped 28 places..
It is unfortunate that India was rated as one of the most dangerous places for women in the world.. The problem is that women feel unsafe even at home, while work place, and way back home are more unsafe.
India is rated as one of the worst performers in South Asia. We are behind Bangladesh, despite claims of bheti padhao, bheti bachao…
Reservations for women in legislative representation was proposed long back but not cared for since decades, as the Bill remains a bill without there being a political will..
Women’s income reduced and scored one-fifth that of men.
Even as the world is observing International Women’s Day on March 8, 2022, with the new theme of ‘#BreakTheBias,’ studies show that the gender gap in India has widened to 62.5%.
The World Economic Forum reported that India fared worst in political empowerment, regressing from 23.9 per cent to 9.1 percent. The health and survival dimension are the areas wherein India is placed among the five worst performers.
Even in economic participation and opportunity gap has fallen by 3 per cent compared to 2020. In the education attainment India halted at 114th position.
Reservations for women in legislative representation was proposed long back but not cared for since decades, as the Bill remains a bill without there being a political will. The main reason analysed for this disparity is the lack of women’s adequate representation in politics, technical and leadership roles. There is a noted decrease in women’s labour force participation rate, poor healthcare, besides unsatisfactory female to male literacy ratio and income inequality.
135 years to bridge the gender gap
With four parameters, the gender gap in 156 nations was studied in 2021. It says it will take 135.6 years to bridge the gender gap worldwide.
To some extent the gap on education attainment and health and survival has been practically bridged, but that on the political empowerment dimension, participation in economy and opportunity the gap is calculated to be widest.
India is below Bangladesh
India is at 140th rank among 156 nations. It has slipped 28 places, according to the World Economic Forum’s Global Gender Gap Report 2021. India is rated as one of the worst performers in South Asia.
We are behind Bangladesh, but Pakistan and Afghanistan are trailing. Iceland, Finland, Norway, New Zealand, Sweden have gained the top positions from first to fifth. While, the nations Lithuania, Serbia, Timor Leste, Togo and United Arab Emirates have improved in overall index.
The leaders and civil society should realize that India needs urgent focus on ‘health and survival’. The phenomenon of declining sex ratio caused by increased incidence of sex selective practices based on gender and low economic participation of women.
Women’s income reduced and scored one-fifth that of men.
The media report based on this World Economic Forum rankings explained that the schemes like Beti Bachao Beti Padhao, direct cash transfer of Rs 500 to women’s accounts, Ujjwala Scheme, One Stop Centre Scheme, and Sukanya Samriddhi need to be successfully implemented. Following table is developed by https://www.livemint.com/news/india/how-india-fared-in-global-gender-gap-report-2021-11617726598143.html)
Female labour participation falls
The last two decades saw the Indian Female labour participation fell to 20%. Preference for sons continued all over the country. This led to population where men’s numbers is higher than women.
School Intervention Programme
We are largest economy and have a larger population. Still achieving gender equality is not that easy. India lags behind many countries in this aspect. In Haryana an NGO Breakthrough has started a program of intervention in schools, which was documented to be successful. The facilitators of this NGO taught a 45-minute session during the school day every three weeks from April 2014 to October 2016. It was a two-and-a-half-year program with discussions in the classrooms. Speakers explained human rights, and how to value women, their contribution to economy, their ability to help children to grow if they are given opportunity to educate further. The students participated with enthusiasm after listening to various points from the speakers. These sessions made the students to think about how society values the contributions of men who are paid as chefs compared to women who cook at home without being paid.
IPR Economist Professor Seema Jayachandran with her colleagues extended this programme to Punjab involving 14000 students across 314 government schools. She said: “We found that the program made both boys and girls more supportive of gender equality.” Jayachandran said that the program converted attitude of 16% of the students who were endorsing inequality. They are now more equitable ones.
The programme included teaching and intervention in 150 schools out of 314 Government schools. Then they surveyed the attitudinal changes regarding gender gap, comparing with 164 schools, where there was no intervention. The study revealed that program has instilled gender equality stuck with the boys and girls.
Another interesting factor is that results highlighted the need to include boys and men in interventions to address gender inequality. It is not logical and proper to confine gender equality studies and education to girls or women only. Everyone should be taught the attitude of gender justice, especially the men, because the women are at receiving end most of the times.
There is a need to scale up such programs. Jayachandran sees this type of intervention as having the potential to work in other countries. She said: “The topics and curriculum would need to be tailored to the context. But I think the general idea—having discussions about the human rights and economic reasons for gender equality in schools—is applicable in many places.”
The gender criminality is a baffling factor. The situation in India regarding crime rate against women is alarming. The crime rate went up by around 131 percent in May 2020. It is unfortunate that India was rated as one of the most dangerous places for women in the world. While every ghastly crime led to agitation for strong legal frame, the crime continuous to increase against women.
Tanu Priya in an article in shethepeople the women’s channel on November 1, 2021 asked: As a teenager, I was always told by my mother to avoid clingy tops, and wear loose-fitting clothes which didn’t reveal the shape of my body. As a daughter-in-law I was made to follow customs and traditions without reasoning them. I never felt safe at home or outside. Why does the onus of safety always lie with the woman why can’t we create safe and empowering spaces for women?
The problem is that women feel unsafe even at home, while work place, and way back home are more unsafe. Dowry continues to be the cause of violence against brides and housewives irrespective age. Domestic violence is increasing in spite of the strong law.
Our Constitution guarantees to all men including women right to equality (Article 14), no discrimination based on gender by the State (Article 15(1)), irrespective gender, equality of opportunity (Article 16), equal pay for equal work, whether men or women (Article 39(d)) and Article 42. The Constitution enables state to make special provisions in favour of women and children (Article 15(3)), renounces practices derogatory to the dignity of women (Article 51(A) (e)), and enables state to make provisions for securing just and humane conditions of work and for maternity relief. (Article 42).
2022 theme of IWD
The 2022 IWD theme is ‘imagine a gender equal world’, which is explained as ‘A world free of bias, stereotypes and discrimination. A world that’s diverse, equitable, and inclusive. A world where difference is valued and celebrated. Together we can forge women’s equality”.
It gave a call “collectively we can all #BreakTheBias” and to ‘celebrate women’s achievement. Raise awareness against bias. Take action for equality’.
Courtesy: Hans News Service , | 7 March 2022
Author Dr. Madabhushi Sridhar Acharyulu was a Professor at Nalsar University of Law in Hyderabad, former Central Information Commissioner and presently is Dean & Professor, School of Law, Mahindra University, Hyderabad.