India’s Gender Inequality Came To The Fore Again

India’s Gender Inequality Came To The Fore Again

India was ranked 95th among 129 countries by the SDG Gender Index that measures global gender equality.


  • SDG Gender Index is the newest index to measure global gender equality.
  • It is developed by Equal Measure 2030, a joint effort of organizations like African Women’s development and Communication Network, Asian-Pacific Resource and Research Centre for Women, Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation, International Women’s Health Coalition, and Jan Swasthya Abhiyaan.
  • The new index comes right after the World Economic Forum’s Gender Gap Index which ranked India as 108th.

The Index

  • The index takes into account 14 of the 17 Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) that include aspects like poverty, hunger, health, education, political representation, equality at the workplace, etc.
  • In the index, a score of 100 reflects the achievement of gender equality in relation to the targets set against various indicators.
  • For example, 100% achievement in the target of girls going to secondary education means the country will receive a score of 100 for this indicator.

World Scenario

  • As per the index, the world is far from achieving gender equality.
  • 1.4 billion girls and women are living in countries that get a ‘Very Poor’ grade (score 59 and below).
  • The 129 countries measure for gender equality represents 95% of the world female population. Of this 65.7 out of 100 girls live in countries with ‘Poor’ grade (score 60-69).
  • In total, 2.5 billion girls and women live in very poor and poor grade countries.
  • As per the index, just 8% of the world female population live in countries with ‘good’ (score 80-89) gender equality grade.
  • No country has achieved an excellent grade with a score of above 90.
  • Jan Swasthya Abhiyaan states that not all countries’ score on the index correlates with the national income.
  • But, some countries perform better-based oil GDP per capita and India is one such country that performs better on GDP per capita.

India Scenario

  • In the index, India scored high goal scores in health – 79.9.
  • In hunger & nutrition, it got a score of 76.2.
  • The country got 71.8 in energy.
  • The lowest score for the country is in partnerships – 18.3.
  • It got 38.1 in industry, infrastructure, and innovation.
  • In climate, it got 43.4.
  • On indicators that define the goals, India scored high on the percentage of female students enrolled in primary education who are over age – 95.3.
  • The lowest score on indicators includes the proportion of seats held by women in national Parliament – 23.6. Only 11.8% is the share of women in the national parliament in 2018.
  • The score on seats held by women in Supreme Court – 18.2 and the share of women is 4%.
  • On gender-based violence
    • The proportion of women aged 20-24 years who were married or in a union before age 18 – 27.3%.
    • Women who agreed that a husband/partner is justified in beating his wife/partner under certain circumstances – 47%.
    • Women aged 15+ who reported that they feel safe walking alone at night in the city or area where she lives is – 69.1%.

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  • The societal and economic costs of gender inequality are huge for a country like India.
  • Inequality breeds violence against women especially in a patriarchal society like India.
  • The index thus acts as a guidepost for the policymakers to bring in necessary measures that will promote gender equality in the country.
  • In the index, India’s lagging behind in key indicators like the representation of women in the national parliament and the Supreme Court is a cause for concern.
  • In this high profile and highly visible segments, more representation by the women will lead to more women aspiring for bigger things and demand gender equality.
  • A concerted effort from both the policymakers and the general public is thus crucial for achieving gender equality in a country like India.
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