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India's global gender ranking one of the worst in health and survival, economic participation: WEF report

By Our Representative
In a major setback at a time when Prime Minister Narendra Modi is seeking to make a big political capital out of the World Bank’s Ease of Doing Business report showing India "jump" its global ranking by 30 points, a new report by the high-profile World Economic Forum (WEF) has said that there there is little improvement in India's Global Gender Index ranking, especially in fields of economic participation and health.
India not just ranks worse among the BRICS (Brazil, Russia, India, China and South Africa) countries, with whom it claims to stand in competition in different global sectors, but also two of its neighbours – Bangladesh and Myanmar.
Among BRICS nations, while India ranks 108th, Brazil ranks 90th, Russia 71st, China 100th, and South Africa 19th. On the other hand, among neighbours, Bangladesh ranks 47th, Myanmar 83rd, Sri Lanka 109th, Nepal 111th, and Pakistan the worst – 143rd among 144 countries assessed across the world.
Sector-wise, India ranks 139th in economic participation, 112th in educational attainment, 141st in health and survival – one of the worst in the world – and 19th in political participation.
India's global ranking in different
sub-sectors
Prepared by the world’s most powerful Geneva-based elite group, WEF, which seeks to engage top world leaders – businesspersons, politicians and academicians – to “shape global, regional, and industry agendas”, the report says, India’s decline in its overall Global Gender Gap Index ranking is “largely attributable" to a widening of its gender gaps in overall empowerment and in healthy life expectancy and basic literacy.”
It adds, “In addition, newly available data reveals the scale of India’s gender gap in women’s share among legislators, senior officials and managers, as well as professional and technical workers for the first time in recent years, highlighting that continued efforts will be needed to achieve parity in economic opportunity and participation.”
No doubt, the report states, 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”, but regrets, “It continues to rank fourth-lowest in the world on health and survival, remaining the world’s least-improved country on this subindex over the past decade.”
Even as giving credit to Indira Gandhi for pushing the country towards political empowerment, the report notes, “With more than 50 years having passed since the inauguration of the nation’s first female prime minister in 1966, maintaining its global top 20 ranking on the Political Empowerment subindex will require India to make progress on this dimension with a new generation of female political leadership.”

Praising Bangladesh for doing phenomenally, the report says, the country’s 47th ranking is a further consolidation of “its position as the region’s top performer and climbs several spots this year, recording progress across all dimensions of the economic opportunity and participation subindex”.
It adds, “Specifically, the country has improved gender parity for legislator, senior official and manager as well as professional and technical roles, in addition to estimated earned income and wage equality for similar work—despite a slight widening of its healthy life expectancy gender gap.”
On Pakistan, the report comments, the country “remains the region’s lowest-ranked country and second-to-last ranked overall. It records some progress on closing the basic literacy gender gap, and on women’s labour force participation, but this is largely outweighed by reversals on estimated earned income and a significant re-opening of the country’s enrolment in tertiary education gender gap according to the latest data.”

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