India ranked low at 135th place in terms of gender parity as per the annual Gender Gap Report 2022 of the World Economic Forum (WEF) released in Geneva on Wednesday. Iceland retained its place as the world’s most gender-equal country, followed by Finland, Norway, New Zealand and Sweden.
Since last year India has improved five places in the areas of economic participation and opportunity. Only 11 countries are ranked below India on the index of 146 nations, with Afghanistan, Pakistan, Congo, Iran and Chad being the worst-five. The report further said that Covid-19 has set gender parity back by a generation and a weak recovery was making it worse globally.
Within South Asia, India was ranked the sixth best on overall score after Bangladesh, Nepal, Sri Lanka, Maldives and Bhutan. Iran, Pakistan and Afghanistan scored worse than India. South Asia (62.3 per cent) has the largest gender gap of all regions, with low scores across all measured gender gaps and little progress made in most countries since 2021.
The WEF said that of the 146 economies surveyed, just one in five has managed to close the gender gap by at least 1 per cent in the past year. “The cost of living crisis is impacting women disproportionately after the shock of labour market losses during the pandemic and the continued inadequacy of care infrastructure,” WEF Managing Director Saadia Zahidi said.
In India, the WEF said its gender gap score recorded its seventh-highest level in the last 16 years, but it continues to rank among the worst performers on various parameters. The WEF warned that the cost of living crisis is expected to hit women hardest globally with a widening gender gap in the labour force and it will take another 132 years (compared to 136 in 2021) to close the gender gap.
However, India was ranked the top globally in terms of gender parity for primary education enrolment and tertiary education enrolment and the eighth place for the position of head of state.