- Jun 14, 2010
- Reaction score
India is worse than Pakistan on gender equality
Aradhana Sharma, TNN, Nov 5, 2010, 12.38am IST
NEW DELHI: Believe it or not when it comes to gender inequities India fares worse than Pakistan. In fact, the country fares lower than all other countries in South Asia save Afghanistan. These are the findings of the 2010 Human Development Report released by the United Nations Development Programme on Thursday as per its Gender Inequality Index.
So while Pakistan may be in the news for its treatment of women and might have become a hot bed for international women's activism, it certainly seems to know how to take care of its mothers better. On maternal mortality, India -- with its abysmal record -- trails Pakistan.
Reproductive health is the largest contributor to the inequality index. The other indicators, based on which it is calculated, include women's participation in the labour force, their level of empowerment based on educational attainment and parliamentary representation.
For maternal mortality, the figure for Pakistan is 320 deaths per 100,000 live births. In India, the corresponding figure stands at 450. The country also falters on adolescent fertility rate, another indicator of reproductive health.
As per this data, in India the adolescent fertility rate is 68 births per 1,000 live births as compared to 45 births per 1,000 live births in Pakistan. The figures illustrate that Pakistan have fewer younger mothers.
India, however, does better in female participation in the labour force, with the figure being 36% for the nation as opposed to 23% for Pakistan.
However, the country has been really found wanting on the health front.
India ranks 122 among 138 countries for which the gender inequality measure has been calculated. Pakistan is at 116, and Bangladesh is a notch higher at 112.
The other area, where India needs to do better is at the level of Parliamentary participation. India, the reports states, stands out as an exception where 30% local government seats are reserved for women. However, participation at this level has not been incorporated in the report. If India wants to fare better on this front, then Congress President Sonia Gandhi will have to keep her promise of ensuring reservation for women in Parliament and the legislative assemblies.
After all, most countries where women have found more places in Parliament are those where affirmative action has been put in place like Pakistan, Nepal, Bangladesh and even Rwanda.
What is disconcerting is that the indicators are not moving despite the government being well aware of the problems and even after adopting corrective measures as in the case of maternal mortality and improving *** ratios.
On the education front, at secondary and higher level, too, India needs to move fast to remove the disparity. While 50% men are covered at this level, for women, this figure stands at a mere 27%. The measured indicators are not the only concern. Involvement and efforts of women in a number of areas go unaccounted due to lack of data. The inclusion of such factors can make the picture even bleaker. Time use, access to assets and domestic violence are just some of the aspects that are missing.
India is worse than Pakistan on gender equality - The Times of India