The State of World Population Report 2020 by the United Nations Population Fund (UNFPA) states that it will take another century to close the overall global gender gap and more than 250 years to “close the gender gap in terms of participation in the economy”.
The report quotes another survey released this year by the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) — Tackling Social Norms: A Game Changer for Gender Inequalities. “By a recent estimate, it will take nearly 100 years, on average, to close the overall global gender gap, and an astonishing 257 years to close the gender gap in terms of participation in the economy. Progress is greatly slowed by people’s perceptions. One survey covering 80 per cent of the world’s population found that 90 per cent of men—and women—have some kind of bias against women,” states the SWP report.
The UNDP 2020 report ranks India at a staggering 122 among 189 countries in its Gender Inequality Index. India has a score of 0.501 (2018) while Switzerland which tops the list has just 0.037. Even though every government has been promoting schemes that are meant to help women avail educational facilities, only 39 per cent of Indian women avail secondary education in contrast to 63.5 per cent. The labour force participation of women is also terribly low — 23.6 per cent as opposed to 78.6 per cent in men. Our Parliament has only 11.7 per cent female representatives — and this is after implementing reservation for women in seats. “The broader backdrop to gender discrimination is the global rising inequalities of and intensifying exclusion. Operating across societies and entrenched by current economic models, these disparities fuel social divisions and tensions. They sustain and worsen gender inequalities, even as a deliberate pushback against gender equality is gaining ground,” says the SWP report.