India ranked 108 of 144 countries on the World Economic Forum’s Global Gender Gap Index 2017--slipping 21 places from 87 in 2016.

India’s gender gap score of 0.669 out of 1 (where 1 means parity) is lower than the global average of 0.680. In 2016, India had scored 0.683.

The report benchmarks 144 countries on their progress towards gender parity across four thematic dimensions--economic participation and opportunity, educational attainment, health and survival and political empowerment.


Source: World Economic Forum

India’s decline in the global gender gap index is attributable to “a widening of its gender gaps in political empowerment as well as in healthy life expectancy and basic literacy”, said the report.

Even though India has fully closed the gender gap in primary and secondary education enrolment for the second year running and in tertiary education for the first time, it continues to rank fourth-lowest in the world on the ‘health and survival’ sub-index. India continues to be the world’s least-improved country on this sub-index over the past decade, said the report.

Another area where India needs to improve is political empowerment--both in terms of presence of women in Parliament and women in ministerial positions--where it scores 0.406 out of 1 and was ranked 15 in the world.

“With more than 50 years having passed since the inauguration of the nation’s first female Prime Minister in 1966, maintaining its global top 20 ranking on the ‘political empowerment’ sub-index will require India to make progress on this dimension with a new generation of female political leadership,” the report said.


Source: World Economic Forum

Globally, the gap between men and women widened for the first time since 2006 when the index was first published. It would take 100 years to close the gap between the genders compared to the estimated 83 years last year, the report said.

(Yadavar is a principal correspondent with IndiaSpend and FactChecker.)