At a time when our country is lagging behind in the Democracy Index (6.9 in 2019), in Global Hunger Index 2019 (ranked 102 of 117), there is at least a glimmer of hope that's come our way. India has taken the top spot in the South Asian region in the World Bank’s Women, Business and Law (WBL) Index 2020.
And the fact that our country gained four percent year-on-year with a score of 74.4 out of 100 this time around is giving us some hope. But, not to forget, India's score is only the second last in the list of BRICS countries, and therefore, there is a long way to go.
The WBL Index is calculated by The World Bank annually. It comprises analysis of laws and regulations that affect women’s economic opportunity across 190 economies.
There are eight indicators on which the calculation is based. These are: mobility, workplace, pay, marriage, parenthood, entrepreneurship, assets and pension. However, the WBL study only measures the formal laws and regulations, which govern women’s ability to be able to work or own businesses. What isn't captured by the indicators are the country’s norms and practices.
India has overtaken Maldives to command the highest WBL score in the South Asia region for the year 2020. But, what changed in our country? Well, the World Bank study has lauded the measures taken by the state of Maharashtra in order to eliminate all the possible restrictions on women’s ability to work in jobs. There has been higher female labour force participation as well as better development outcomes in India in the past one year, according to the study.
While it is happy news as far as South-Asia is concerned, there is still a long way to go since we are away from the perfect score of 100. Countries like Belgium, Canada and France have scored a 100 while others like Germany and UK have the second-best score of 97.5. Not to forget, according to the Geneva-based WEF (World Economic Forum) report, India slipped on to 112th rank on the gender gap index globally as compared to the 108th spot in 2018. So yes, a lot needs to be done!
Our neighbouring nations like China, Sri Lanka and Pakistan have a WBL score of 75.6, 68.1 and 49.4 respectively. Take a look at some of the rankings.
Let us make the most of 2020 and be ranked better for the next WBL annual report. Cheers!
Featured Image: Shutterstock
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