The India Post, Geneva, 12th November, 2008 : After the intensive efforts of Government’s effort to close the gender gap between men and women in the country, India ranked 113th in the Economic Forum’s Global Gender Gap Report 2008.
Apart from India, Iran (116), Nepal (120) and Pakistan (127) continue to hold some of the lowest positions in the Asian countries rankings, but on average all four countries post gains relative to their own performances in 2006 and 2007, signifying a positive trend. While much work needs to be done in all four countries, in particular to close gender gaps in education, India, Nepal and Pakistan are distinctive for performing above average in political empowerment, according to the Economic Forum report
Norway leads the world in closing the gender gap between men and women with three other Nordic countries—Finland (2), Sweden (3) and Iceland (4)—also at the top of the Report’s Gender Gap Index, the report said.
Previously higher ranking countries such as Germany (11), United Kingdom (13) and Spain (17) slipped down the Index but stayed in the top 20, while Netherlands (9), Latvia (10), Sri Lanka (12) and France (15) made significant gains, it added.
The US at 27th place made progress this year and closed gender gaps in estimated earned income and perceived income gaps for similar work. China (57) gains 17 places relative to last year driven by narrowing gender gaps in educational attainment, economic participation and political participation, the report pointed out.
The Global Gender Gap Index scores can be interpreted as the percentage of the gap between women and men that has been closed. The three highest ranking countries have closed a little over 80 per cent of their gender gaps, while the lowest ranking country has closed only a little over 45 per cent of its gender gap.
Out of the 128 countries covered in both 2007 and 2008, more than two-thirds have posted gains in overall index scores, indicating that the world in general has made progress towards equality between men and women.
Additionally, taking averages across the sub-indexes for these 128 countries reveals that, globally, progress has been made on narrowing the gaps in educational attainment, political empowerment and economic participation, while the gap in health has widened.
Klaus Schwab, Chairman, World Economic Forum Founder and Executive said that Greater representation of women in senior leadership positions within governments and financial institutions is vital not only to find solutions to the current economic turmoil, but to stave off such crises in future.
Ricardo Hausmann, Director, Centre for International Development , Harvard University said that the index assesses countries on how well they are dividing their resources and opportunities among their male and female populations, regardless of the overall levels of these resources and opportunities.
World Economic Forum Constituents Head Saadia Zahidi said that the report reveals that progress is not only possible, but possible in a relatively short space of time.
The report covers all current and candidate European Union countries, 23 from Latin America and the Caribbean, 23 from sub-Saharan Africa, over 20 from Asia and 15 from the Middle East and North Africa.