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 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.
- 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.
- 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.