World Economic Forum publishes World Gender Gap Report every year and as per 2016 report, India ranked 87 out of 144 countries in gender parity. In this article, we present a comprehensive analysis of the report in general but with reference to the 2016 report to understand the ranking.
Features of the report
Measuring Gender Gap rather than the level of Empowerment
Global Gender Gap report seeks to measure gender gap based on access to available resources of the two genders in a country rather than women empowerment. So this report cuts down on factors of availability of resources in a country based on its financial condition. This report assumes that rich countries naturally have access to more resources and the two genders of the country should have access to similar levels of resources.
Measuring ‘Outcomes’ rather than ‘Inputs’ or ‘means’
Another significant change in 2016 report was that it measures outcome rather than ‘input’ to the outcome. So this report sought to measure where the two genders stand in terms of different indicators rather than ‘means’ adopted (policy decisions, culture. Customs etc.) for the same.
Measuring Gender Equality and not Women Empowerment
The 2016 report ranked countries based on their proximity to gender equality and not on women empowerment. So this report wanted to have eliminated the so-called ‘battle of sexes”.
Global Gender Gap Index, 2016 examines gender gap of a country based on the following four subindexes –
- Economic Participation and Opportunity – measures participation gap, remuneration gap, and advancement gap.
- Education attainment – measured by access to primary – secondary – tertiary level education and literacy rate
- Health and Survival – natural survival tenure for a female is considered as 87.5 years and that of men is considered as 82.5 years and a sex ratio at birth is considered as 944 females to 1000 males for these calculations.
- Political Empowerment – the level of women participation in the highest level of political decision making based on years in executive office in last 50 years is considered.
Assigned weights to each subindex
This year’s report also assigns weight to each parameter of a subindex. Weights are assigned based on standard deviation of the parameter. Higher the standard deviation of a parameter higher is the weight assigned to the same. This makes sure that countries that deviate in the higher areas of impact are penalized more. Table 2 in the report explains the same.
How India perform in gender parity?
India’s performance is summarized in the two graphics below –
India’s performance in different sub-indexes
Economic Participation and Opportunity
Surprisingly in this segment despite having more professional and technical female workers India –
is assigned the average score which reduces India’s rank. Our analysis shown later in this article shows that the scores of Labour Force Participation and Wage Equality are arrived at without taking into consideration some data that could have improved India’s scores. Please note, the wage gap is arrived at by asking questions to company executives and mostly perception driven.
Clearly, India is lagging behind in terms of the long-term indicator – “Literacy Rate”. This may be due to the fact that women not attaining schools for various reasons for so many years. With the implementation of various adult education programs, improving sanitation in schools and stopping child marriage the current situation of education is improving. We see a slight imbalance here as we see more women enrolment in primary and secondary education. This leads to a thought that male students are selectively discouraged from an education system which is dangerous as even today males are considered to be the primary breadwinner in Indian families.
Higher enrolment of female students in primary and secondary education when the number of females in 0-6 years is much less compared to that of males (census data, also naturally more male children are born) only leads to the conclusion that more male children are deprived of primary and secondary education in India.
Health and Survival
This indicator shows that Indian women can expect prolonged healthy life until 59 years compared to 56 years in case of males. The absence of any male friendly policies, infrastructure or government institution for men’s welfare can be attributed to this.
Even though India gained because of female heads of states, burning issues in this area seem to be the other two parameters.
The World Gender Gap Report also presents selected data in-country profile sector. If we look at this data we find that the report selectively takes data that is to disadvantage of India. For example –
The report does not disclose numbers like workers employed in part-time that could show more women engaged in similar work. Also discouraged job seekers would have shown more males as discouraged because of reservation for women.
However, this calculation does include parameters that are not favourable for India, like unemployed adults or proportion of unpaid work by the two genders or hours of work (because women do engage in more household work).
By being silent on these parameters the report creates an inherent bias in the calculation of Labour Force Participation and Opportunity Index.
Access to Assets
Please note that all values marked above are not based on any data. These are values assigned to India based on parameters not clarified in the report.
Access to Technology
Surprisingly the area where India could have done well is not considered at all in the Index calculation –
The 2016 World Gender Gap Report shows Indian males are more prone to all kinds of deadly diseases –
Yet, no benefit program for men. WCD ministry is trying to create a bias against male patients by giving priority to women patients in National Policy for Women drafted in 2016. This shows that a systematic institutional bias is created against Indian males that will slowly lead to killing them.
This report clarifies that Indian males need more attention and progressive policies for education, skill development, and healthcare benefits. However, all Indian government programmes today are women-centric. When the need of the hour is to educate and save males, Indian govt. is driving ‘Beti Bachao, Beti Padhao‘ program. The reason good enough for Indian males to be terrified about their future.