HPAS/Allied Mains 2022 Answer Writing Challenge Day 27: Model Answer
Question: How gender equal is India as per the 2022 Global Gender Gap Index and various sub-indices? Also discuss the major causes for gender inequality in India? (20 marks, 400 words)
- The Global Gender Gap Index for 2022 was released by the World Economic Forum (WEF) Wednesday, and it ranks India at 135 out of 146 countries. In 2021, India was ranked 140 out of 156 countries.
- India has approximately 662 million (or 66.2 crore) women. In 2022, India’s overall score has improved from 0.625 (in 2021) to 0.629. “India’s (135th) global gender gap score has oscillated between 0.593 and 0.683 since the index was first compiled. In 2022, India scored 0.629, which is its seventh-highest score in the last 16 years,” states the report.
- Political Empowerment
- This includes metrics such as the percentage of women in Parliament, the percentage of women in ministerial positions etc. Of all the sub-indices, this is where India ranks the highest (48th out of 146).
- However, notwithstanding its rank, its score is quite low at 0.267. Some of the best ranking countries in this category score much better. For instance, Iceland is ranked 1 with a score of 0.874 and Bangladesh is ranked 9 with a score of 0.546.
- Moreover, India’s score on this metric has worsened since last year – from 0.276 to 0.267. The silver lining is that despite reduction, India’s score is above the global average in this category
- Economic Participation and Opportunity
- This includes metrics such as the percentage of women who are part of the labour force, wage equality for similar work, earned income etc.
- Here, too, India ranks a lowly 143 out of the 146 countries in contention even though its score has improved over 2021 from 0.326 to 0.350.
- Last year, India was pegged at 151 out of the 156 countries ranked. India’s score is much lower than the global average, and only Iran, Pakistan and Afghanistan are behind India on this metric.
- Educational Attainment
- This sub-index includes metrics such as literacy rate and the enrolment rates in primary, secondary and tertiary education. Here India ranks 107th out of 146, and its score has marginally worsened since last year. In 2021, India was ranked 114 out of 156
- Health and Survival
- This includes two metrics: the sex ratio at birth (in %) and healthy life expectancy (in years). In this metric, India is ranked the last (146) among all the countries. Its score hasn’t changed from 2021 when it was ranked 155th out of 156 countries.
- Given all the development and recent rise to prominence, we often forget that India is still one of the poorest countries in the world, and it is one of the biggest reasons that lead to gender inequality in India. Despite the availability of education in rural areas, families prefer sending their boys to school rather than the girls of the family, which is one of the biggest disadvantages.
Patriarchal Setup in our Indian Society
- Since time immemorial, India has been an extremely patriarchal society. The patriarchal setup in Indian society contributed to the fundamental inequality between men and women. As women were considered a part of the household belonging to their father or husband, they were unable to get a say in any matters concerning their own development or that of the community at large.
Lack of Education or Illiteracy
- The disparity between the literacy rates of men and women in India is a known issue. The problem is not that there are few literate women in India, but rather the problem is the lack of awareness among women to use their rights.
Lack of Awareness Among Women
- One of the major causes of gender inequality is the lack of awareness among women about their rights and their ability to achieve equality. This lack of awareness is often due to the prevailing cultural and social norms, which dictate that women should be subservient to men. It is important to break down these barriers and help women become more aware of their rights so that they can demand equality
Social Customs, Beliefs and Practices
- The views of society, customs and cultural practices play a big role in keeping women at lower places in the society – refusing them opportunities, which are generally provided to men, who are considered the dominant ones in India.
Lack of Employment Facilities:
- Women are not able to resolve the conflict between new economic and old domestic roles. In both rural and urban India, women spend a large proportion of time on unpaid home sustaining work. Women are not able to respond to new opportunities and shift to new occupations because their mobility tends to be low due to intra-household allocation of responsibilities.
- Addressing these causes is critical to achieving gender equality in India.