• The Global Gender Gap Index was first introduced by the World Economic Forum in 2006 as a framework for capturing the magnitude of gender-based disparities and tracking their progress over time.
  • Global Gender Gap Report,2020 benchmarks 153 countries on their progress towards gender parity across four thematic dimensions:
    • Economic Participation and Opportunity
    • Educational Attainment
    • Health and Survival, and
    • Political Empowerment.
  • In addition, this year’s report examines gender gap prospects in the professions of the future.

Key Findings

  • Gender Parity: World has closed 68.6% of its gender gap and at the current rate of change, it will take 99.5 years to close the overall gender gap. This is a marked improvement on the 108 years in the 2018 index.

Sectoral Performance:

  • Political Empowerment: It has the largest gender disparity with women in 2019 holding just 25.2% of parliamentary (lower-house) seats and 21.2% of ministerial positions.But it is also the most improved dimension this year and has driven the overall positive performance. This can be attributed to the “Role model effect” which may be reaping dividends in terms of leadership and wages.
  • Economic Participation and Opportunity: It has the second-largest gap. It is the only dimension where progress has regressed. At this rate it will take 257 years to close this gap. The report highlights three primary reasons for this:
  • Automation: women have greater representation in roles that are being automated.
  • Less representation in technology-driven profession: Not enough women are entering technology-driven profession where wage growth has been the most pronounced. As a result, women in work too often find themselves in middle-low wage categories that have been stagnant since the financial crisis 10 years ago.
  • Perennial factors: Women spend at least twice as much time on care and voluntary work in every country where data is available, and lack of access to capital prevents women from pursuing entrepreneurial activity.
  • Educational Attainment and Health and Survival: Progress in bridging both of these gaps are more advanced. Gender parity in the Health and survival gender gap has been already fully achieved in 40 countries.

Performance of India:

India slipped four places to 112th rank and has closed two-thirds of its overall gender gap (score of 66.8%).

While India has improved in political empowerment, it has fallen in other three indicators.

India is the only among the 153 countries studied where the economic gender gap is larger than the political one.

  • Only one-third of the Economic gap has been bridged. This can be attributed to below facts.
  • Only one-quarter of women, compared with 82% of men, engage actively in the labour market.
  • The female estimated earned income is mere one-fifth of the male income (among the world’s lowest).
  • Women representation on company boards is also very low (13.8%).
  • Widening of Health and survival gap is mainly due to abnormally low sex ratios at birth in India (91 girls for every 100 boys), violence against women, forced marriages and discrimination in access to health.
  • The trend is more positive in terms of gender gaps in education. o From primary to tertiary education, the share of women attending school is systematically larger than the share of men.
  • However only 66% of women are literate compared with 82% of men.

The Future of Gender Parity

  • The greatest challenge preventing the economic gender gap from closing is women’s under-representation in emerging roles.
  • Report finds that even in countries where education attainment is relatively high, women’s skills are not always in line with those required to succeed in the professions of the future like AI, engineering and cloud computing.
  • In cloud computing, just 12% of professionals are women. Similarly, in engineering and Data and AI, the numbers are 15% and 26% respectively.
  •    To address these deficiencies the report suggests:
  • Workforce strategies to ensure that women are better equipped (in terms of improved skills or reskilling) to deal with the challenges and take advantage of the opportunities of the Fourth Industrial Revolution.
  • Diverse hiring to address the current situation that sees gender parity in an in-demand skillset but not equal representation.
  • Creating inclusive work cultures
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