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Women and the gender disparity in India is huge, in casae that fact escaped your attention, bu any chance. One look at your daily feeds on social media, or - if you’re an old school loyalist - the newspapers, and you’ve figured out that women are being raped, casually objectified and scandalised at the drop of a man’s hat. I say 'man' because that’s the source of the atrocity, majorly. The problem is patriarchal.
For instance, let's take a look at the Global Gender Gap Report, 2017, a report published annually by the World Economic Forum with the purpose of enabling countries to “assess whether they are making progress towards reducing the gender gap in health and survival, economic opportunities, education and political empowerment.”
According to the results, India ranks at an overall of 108; even below Bangladesh which is 47 - despite the fact that it is a poorer country than ours - and the Maldives which is at 106.
The report judges the economic statistics on the grounds of health and survival, education, economic opportunities - of livelihood and availability of work - and political empowerment.
India falls short on 3 out of 4 verticals. I’ll let you guess which one it aces - political empowerment (a bit of a no-brainer, really). One look at India’s rankings on the global and Asian levels; and a deeper analysis of the country’s rather sad numbers on each of the graphs shows one thing; and one thing, only - India is regressing.
An internationally renowned report is revealing a glaring problem with our country - that we are not ‘developing’, so to speak. Not on the paradigm of health; definitely not on the paradigm of economic opportunities (which, by the way doesn’t add it, dear PM) and when it comes to education, we should stop talking about it (we’re worshipping and securing cows over human beings, for crying out loud).
And while we’re already falling behind in these sectors; according to the Global Gender Gap Report, we’re even failing our women in these sectors.
Case in point:
According to India’s key indicators - GDP ($US billions), GDP per capita, the total population (calculated in 1000s), the population growth rate, the sex ratio and the Human Capital index score, India is divergent on 3 out of 4 indices (already mentioned above). The closer the score is to 1, the greater the disparity in that country. The numbers then, speak for themselves. A look at the reports from 2006 through 2017, proves that we’re moving backwards!
Further probing into the country scorecard shows that India falls way below the average score of the country.
Our ranking are the worst in the health and survival parameters, landing India amongst the bottom 3 (China and Azerbaijan are at the bottom two for obvious reasons - selective abortion and a one-child policy, and the large gaps of life expectancy between men and women, respectively), at 141.
There are poorer countries than India and even they find a spot above us; case in point the Latin American countries.
We rank 139 when it comes to economic opportunities with just 4 other countries - namely, Iran, Pakistan, Yemen and Syria - below us.
Compared to Indian men, 6.5 times more young Indian women are not getting equal opportunities - neither in education, nor employment. Only 11% women make it to the boards of public trade companies and under 15% find roles in research & development.
65.6% of a woman’s labour is this country goes unpaid and less than 43% women have any financial independence that is documented.
Countries like Rwanda, Nicaragua, Slovenia and the Philippines - those that are supposedly worse off than us in terms of resources and development - have fared better than us and the only question we need to ask is why; especially since we boast of a GDP that should ideally place us higher up in the ranks, as ideal goes. With the kind of ‘development’ the government claims to have initiated, we shouldn’t even be talking about the gender disparity. But, here we are - questioning this blot on our ever-so-pristine national pride - which happens to be a woman by the way (remember, Bharat Mata ki Jai and all?). So, how do we falter?
We’re India - a land that revers cows and statues and stones more than its women and children, or even men, for that matter.
We’re a country that would rather women be maimed, framed and then, venerated at pandals than be educated, employed and given equal opportunity.
I am a woman and India is no country for us.