According to the Geneva-based WEF (World Economic Forum) report, India has slipped on to 112th rank on the gender gap index globally as compared to the 108th spot last year. Amid battling other slowdowns in the areas of economy and health, the drop of four ranks in the gender gap index has revealed the not-so gender-neutral side of the country.
The Oxford Dictionary defines 'Gender Neutrality' as an adjective that is suitable for, or applicable to, every individual irrespective of gender. A gender-neutral nation is the one that believes its policies, language, and other social institutions must avoid distinguishing in the allocation of roles according to people’s sex or gender. Any nation that adopts gender-neutrality, must emphasise on equal treatment of individuals legally with no discrimination.
Amid widening disparity for women in areas of economic participation, health and survival conditions, India has slipped four places to 112th rank globally in terms of gender gap. The WEF said economic opportunities for women stand at a stagnant 35.4% (extremely limited) in India. The only countries behind India are Pakistan (with 32.7 percent), Yemen (27.3 percent), Syria (24.9 percent) and Iraq (22.7 percent).
The WEF has also named India among countries with extremely low representation of women in the panel of board of directors of various companies (only 13.8 percent) while China's figures are even worse with 9.7 percent.
While Iceland continues to be the world’s most gender-neutral country for yet another annual year, other countries across the globe that rank above India are China (106th), Sri Lanka (102nd), Nepal (101st), Brazil (92nd), Indonesia (85th) and Bangladesh (50th).
One good news, however, for the world is that contrary to what last year's WEF report suggested, it would now take 99 years and not 108 years to close the inequality gap. Wow, 'just' a century to go?
Klaus Schwab, Founder of WEF, said that the gender-gap index report highlights the growing urgency for action. "At the present rate of change, it will take nearly a century to achieve parity, a timeline we simply cannot accept in today's globalised world, especially among younger generations who hold increasingly progressive views of gender equality," he said.
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