The World Economic Forum’s ~ Global Gender Gap Report ranks countries according to calculated gender gap between women and men in four key areas namely ~ health, education, economy and politics. It measures women’s disadvantage compared to men. Last year, India had climbed 21 places to go up the ladder from 108th to 87th rank. But this year, India has unfortunately slipped that 21 places to get back again to the 2015 position at 108.
In spite of its vast population, Bangladesh has done extremely well to get a good rank at 47. This year’s report also shows that Iceland has closed nearly 88 per cent of its gaps. Iceland has been world’s most gender – equal country for nine years and is followed by its Scandinavian cousins ~ Norway and Finland. However, Norway is the leader in both human development and happiness indices.
According to the Global Gender Gap Report, 2017, India’s position on “health and survival” is undoubtedly the most important area to focus. India ranks fourth lowest in the world on “health and survival” and ranks 141st among 144 countries which is the number one reason for our overall lowly position at 108. To combat it, our national food, khichdi can be served in midday meal along with boiled eggs and bananas to children at schools. Students must also be given some extra khichdi so that they can have it just after the last period. Just by cooking some extra khichdi, students can be provided with an afternoon meal along with the existing midday meal.
The number two area of concern is that of “economic participation and opportunity” in which our country is ranked 139th. One of the ways to address this issue is to provide substantial amount of scholarships to the poor girl children upto the age of 21 years to make child marriage a less attractive option and to ensure women’s participation in the economic field. This can also change, so to speak, the tag of a girl from a “dowry – debit” to a “scholarship – credit” and thus ensure her survival by helping her to cross the hurdle of foeticide, infanticide and nutritional discrimination. So, this will also go on to repair the problem number one that is her “health and survival”.
The third area is “workplace gender gap” in which our country is ranked 136th. Quick justice delivery system is a must to give women a level playing field with men so that they can take part in economic activities without any difficulty. Also, there should an effective administrative radar to ensure equal wage for equal work.
However, as the saying goes ~ “every cloud has a silver lining”. Indeed, our country has become successful in fully closing its primary and secondary education enrolment gender gaps and nearly closing its tertiary education gender – gap.