» ADDRESSING GENDER INEQUALITY IN INDIA
ADDRESSING GENDER INEQUALITY IN INDIA
GS 1, MAINS: Role of women and women’s organization, population and associated issues, poverty and developmental issues, urbanization, their problems and their remedies.
- Gender equality is not just the right thing to do—it also makes good economic sense. Yet across the world, women are still a long way off from achieving gender parity with men, according to a new report from the World Economic Forum.
- The 2018 Global Gender Gap Index finds that women have reached 68 percent parity overall, leaving a gap of 32 percent. The report measures the gender gap in four main areas: economic participation and opportunity, educational attainment, health and survival, and political empowerment.
- When it comes to leadership, women still have a long way to go. They represent just 18 percent of ministers and 24 percent of parliamentarians globally, and they hold just 34 percent of managerial positions.
- The report also flags the disturbing emergence of gender gaps in skills related to artificial intelligence (AI). It finds that only 22 percent of AI professionals worldwide are women, while 78 percent are men.
WHERE INDIA STANDS?
- India has been ranked 108th in the index, same as 2017, while recording improvement in wage equality for similar work and fully closing its tertiary education gender gap for the first time.
- India needs to make improvements across the board, from women's participation to getting more women into senior and professional roles.
- WEF also noted that India continues to rank third-lowest in the world on health and survival, remaining the world's least-improved country on this subindex over the past decade.
- However, on the positive side, India has slightly improved in WEF's wage equality for similar work indicator, where it stood at 72nd place. The country has also closed its tertiary education enrolment gap for the first time in 2018 and has managed to keep its primary and secondary gaps closed for the third year running.
ACHIEVING GENDER EQUALITY:
- Make education gender sensitive: There has been much progress in increasing access to education, but progress has been slow in improving the gender sensitivity of the education system, including ensuring textbooks promote positive stereotypes. This is critically important for girls to come out of schools as citizens who can shape a more equal society.
- Give proper value to ‘women’s work’: The unpaid work women and girls do provide the foundation for the global economy. This fact needs to be highlighted more in the media, with the private sector and in communities. More research and data for messaging on this point could be useful in promoting the key role and contributions women and girls make to the economy and the need for proper recognition and compensation.
- Get women into power: A proven way to overcome many systemic barriers to a woman’s success has been increased participation by women in local, regional and national legislation as empowered change agents. In just 10 years, the number of women holding seats in houses of national parliament in south Asia rose from 7% to 18%. But a global goal of equal representation is still a long way off, with only one woman for every four men in parliamentary houses.
- Encourage women into non-traditional vocations: Supporting women in non-traditional jobs is crucial in not only making long-lasting change in their lives but also help break social taboos. Brac is skilling women in professions such as motorcycle fixing, driving, hospitality, mobile-phone fixing.
- Promoting Women Entrepreneurship: Policies that reduce barriers which prevent women from starting and developing their own businesses would result in encouraging more women to become entrepreneurs. This would help narrow multiple gender gaps such as female startup rates, productivity, and profitability of businesses. Allowing women entrepreneurs into special training and skill development programs could improve women`s market access and encourage their business to grow and be more stable.
- Enforce Paternity Leave: Making business friendlier towards women is another step that can help the process of closing the gender pay gap. Allowing fathers to take more paternity and shared parental leave ensures workplace flexibility and opportunity for women to return back to work.
PREVIOUS YEARS UPSC MANS QUESTIONS:
- ‘Women’s movement in India has not addressed the issues of women of lower social strata. Substantiate your view. (2018)
- How do you explain the statistics that show that the sex ratio in Tribes in India is more favourable to women than the sex ratio among Scheduled Castes? (2015)
- How does patriarchy impact the position of a middle class working woman in India? (2014)
- Discuss the various economic and socio-cultural forces that are driving increasing feminization of agriculture in India. (2014)
- Why do some of the most prosperous regions of India have an adverse sex ratio for women? Give your arguments. (2014)