Country rated lower still at 135 when it comes to ensuring health and survival of its women
Gender inequality in India has narrowed over the past year, but economic opportunities and health facilities for women in the country are still among the poorest in south Asia, according to a new survey.
The Global Gender Gap Report 2013, released by non-profit organisation World Economic Forum this week, ranks India at 101 among 136 countries that were assessed for women empowerment on social, economic and political parameters.
India has steadily climbed the rankings and reported a sharp rise since 2011 when it was ranked 113, while Bangladesh which is ranked much higher at 75 has been moving up and down the rankings since 2009.
Despite improving its ranking, India is still lagging, the report states. "India remains the lowest-ranked of the BRICS economies, even after gaining four places since last year."
The report ranks countries my measuring the size of the gender inequality gap in four areas — economic participation and opportunity, health and survival, educational attainment and political empowerment.
India is lagging behind Maldives (rank 97) and ahead of Nepal (121) and Pakistan (135)—the only south Asian country that has consistently slipped in the gender gap rankings since 2009.
Scandinavian countries, Iceland, Finland, Norway and Sweden have been ranked the top four in that order, while at rank five Philippines is the only Asian country among the top 10 countries where gender gap is minimal.
The report states: "The world's gender gaps narrowed slightly in 2013 on the back of definite if not universal improvements in economic equality and political participation between the sexes."
India is ranked ninth in the world in the list of countries where women are most empowered politically, marginally behind its South Asian counterpart Bangladesh that is ranked seventh. But at rank 135, India is rated the worst in South Asia when it comes to ensuring health and survival for its women, and ranked behind Bangladesh and Nepal also on the parameter of economic participation and opportunity. Klaus Schwab, founder and executive chairperson of the World Economic Forum, says, "Countries will need to start thinking of human capital very differently — including how they integrate women into leadership roles. This shift in mindset and practice is not a goal for the future, it is an imperative today."
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