India climbs to 108th spot in global gender index

Thursday, Nov 19, 2015,15:19 IST By Metrovaartha A A A

Geneva | On the back of stronger representation of women in political leadership, India has improved its ranking to 108th position among 145 countries in the global gender gap index prepared by the World Economic Forum. Iceland has once again topped the rankings followed by Norway and Finland at second and third spots, respectively. Last year, India was ranked 114 among 142 countries.

Even though its place has improved, India is still behind major economies including the US (28) and China (91). Other countries in the top ten are Sweden (4), Ireland (5), Rwanda (6), the Philippines (7), Switzerland (8), Slovenia (9) and New Zealand (10).

With a score of 0.664, India is at the 108th spot. The rankings are based on a country’s performance in terms of economic participation and opportunity, educational attainment, health and survival and political empowerment. India this year improves on its 114th position in 2014 mainly on the back of stronger representation of women in political leadership. Having more than doubled the number of women in ministerial positions (from 9 per cent to 22 per cent), the country is now the most improved country in the region, WEF said in the report released today.

The women ministers in Prime Minister Narendra Modi-led government include External Affairs Minister Sushma Swaraj, Human Resource Development Minister Smriti Irani, Women and Child Welfare Minister Maneka Gandhi and Minority Affairs Minister Najma Heptulla.

There are women Chief Ministers in some states including Vasundhara Raje in Rajasthan, Anandi Ben in Gujarat, Mamata Banerjee in West Bengal and J Jayalalithaa in Tamil Nadu. Meanwhile, for political empowerment, where the country is at the ninth place, India’s ranking with respect to other aspects are relatively low.

In terms of economic participation and opportunity, India is placed 139th, educational attainment (125), health and survival (143). Noting that the country’s record in economic participation and opportunity leave as much to be desired, the report said India’s position in this regard has slipped another five places to 139 out of 145 in this year’s report, putting it at the lowest position since we began measuring the gender gap in 2006. Overall in this pillar, not only has it declined relative to its international peers, it has also declined in absolute terms, with a wider gap today than ten years ago.

In health and survival, another of our four pillars, India has also regressed over the past decade this year it ranks 143 out of 145, with the same (143) ranking for one of the sub-indicators, sex ratio at birth, ahead of only China and Armenia, it added. Among the BRICS grouping, India has the lowest rank, while South Africa is on top at the 17th position, followed by Russia (75), Brazil (85) and China (91).