Even after a number of attempts to remove inequality, India ranks at 95 out of 129 countries in the new Gender Equality Index 2019. This is the first global index of its kind and the attempt to gauge how well countries are doing in eliminating inequality shows we are actually not doing well in bringing our women to the forefront. Achieving Gender Equality by 2030 is a part of the Sustainable Development Goals set by the United Nations. Unfortunately, not even a single country is set to achieve this feat by 2030. Melinda Gates attributed the index as “a wake -up call for the world”.

According to the SDG Gender Index 2019, a whopping 2.8 billion women and girls live in countries that are not doing well to improve their quality of life. The important takeaways from the study are:

  • The index measured progress in 129 countries on the basis of certain factors and allotted them a score from 0 to 100, 100 meaning perfect equality has been achieved. On the basis of this score, the countries were then ranked globally. India ranks 95 out of 129 countries.
  • The factors taken into consideration for India were, seats held by women in national parliament (a score of 23.6, women constituted only 11.8 percent of the parliament in 2018), The extent to which national budget is influenced by factors such as age, gender, income etc., in which it scored 0.0 and hence was the worst score in the region. The number of seats held by women in Supreme Court of the country was also taken into consideration, in which India scored 18.2, making it 4th worst in the region. Overall, India scored 56.2 points. Countries with an overall score of 59 or less are considered to be very poor in the index.
  • Denmark topped the ranking list and Chad ranked at the 129th Pakistan at 113, Nepal at 102, Bangladesh at 110 and China at 74.
  • Sub Saharan Africa, Middle East and North Africa, Latin America and the Caribbean, are the three regions where no country received good score in the index.

We just talk about equality: National statistics of women in major fields

Though India has been home to conservatism, we are striving to improve from the last few years. We are providing ‘nearly’ equal opportunities to women in almost every field. Induction of women in the Air Force started in 2016, an attempt to promote gender equality. But ultimately, we have a score of 56.2. So what’s stopping women from entering the parliament and workforce? Maybe our actions do not synchronise with the plans and schemes for women. Here are the statistics for the presence of women in India in some of the major fields:

  • Though Lok Sabha 2019 elections had ‘women’ at one point of its focus, women constitute only 14.6 percent of Member of Parliaments. This, surprisingly, is the highest till now, but the number, undoubtedly, is not at all satisfactory.
  • According to a McKinsey report published in 2018, only 25 percent of India’s labour force is women.
  • According to the census 2011, India had a literacy rate of 74% out of which, 82% of men were literate whereas only 65% of women were literate.
  • Between 2010 and 2017, women’s participation in lower house (Lok Sabha) has increased by only 1 percent.

Read More: The conspicuous absence of women in India’s labour force

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