Gender gap index: India slips 28 places to 140th rank among 156 countries

News Network
March 31, 2021

gendergap.jpg

India has slipped 28 places to rank 140th among 156 countries in the World Economic Forum's Global Gender Gap Report 2021, becoming the third-worst performer in South Asia.

According to the report, India has closed 62.5 per cent of its gender gap till date.

The country had ranked 112th among 153 countries in the Global Gender Gap Index 2020.

Noting that the decline also took place on the economic participation and opportunity subindex, albeit to a lesser extent, the report said India's gender gap on this dimension widened by 3 per cent this year, leading to a 32.6 per cent gap closed till date.

Most of the decline occurred on the political empowerment subindex, where India regressed 13.5 percentage points, with a significant decline in the number of women ministers (from 23.1 per cent in 2019 to 9.1 per cent in 2021).

"Among the drivers of this decline is a decrease in women's labour force participation rate, which fell from 24.8 per cent to 22.3 per cent. In addition, the share of women in professional and technical roles declined further to 29.2 per cent. The share of women in senior and managerial positions also remains low: only 14.6 per cent of these positions are held by women and there are only 8.9 per cent firms with female top managers," the report said.

Further, the estimated earned income of women in India is only one-fifth of men's, which puts the country among the bottom 10 globally on this indicator, it said.

Discrimination against women is also reflected in the health and survival subindex statistics. With 93.7 per cent of this gap closed to date, India ranks among the bottom five countries in this subindex.

Wide gaps in sex ratio at birth are due to the high incidence of gender-based sex-selective practices. In addition, more than one in four women has faced intimate violence in her lifetime, the report said.

"Conversely, 96.2 per cent of the educational attainment subindex gender gap has been closed, with parity achieved in primary, secondary and tertiary education. Yet, gender gaps persist in terms of literacy: one third of women are illiterate (34.2 per cent) compared to 17.6 per cent of men," it added.

Among India's neighbours, Bangladesh ranked 65, Nepal 106, Pakistan 153, Afghanistan 156, Bhutan 130 and Sri Lanka 116.

Among regions, South Asia is the second-lowest performer on the index, with 62.3 per cent of its overall gender gap closed.

"Within the region, a wide gulf separates the best-performing country, Bangladesh, which has closed 71.9 per cent of its gender gap so far, from Afghanistan, which has only closed 44.4 per cent of its gap.

"India is the third-worst performer in the region, having closed 62.5 per cent of its gap. Because of its large population, India's performance has a substantial impact on the region's overall performance," the report said.

In South Asia, only Pakistan and Afghanistan ranked below India.

The report stated that India, home to 0.65 billion women, has widened its gender gap from almost 66.8 per cent one year ago to 62.5 per cent this year.

In Pakistan and Afghanistan, the income of an average woman is below 16 per cent of that of an average man, while in India it is 20.7 per cent, it said.

As the impact of the Covid-19 pandemic continues to be felt, the global gender gap has increased by a generation from 99.5 years to 135.6 years, the report noted.

Now in its 15th year, the report benchmarks the evolution of gender-based gaps in four areas: economic participation and opportunity, educational attainment, health and survival, and political empowerment. It also examines the drivers of gender gaps and outlines the policies and practices needed for a gender-inclusive recovery.

For the 12th time, Iceland is the most gender-equal country in the world. The top 10 most gender-equal countries include Finland, Norway, New Zealand, Rwanda, Sweden, Ireland and Switzerland.

Comments

Add new comment

  • Coastaldigest.com reserves the right to delete or block any comments.
  • Coastaldigset.com is not responsible for its readers’ comments.
  • Comments that are abusive, incendiary or irrelevant are strictly prohibited.
  • Please use a genuine email ID and provide your name to avoid reject.
News Network
May 6,2021

The coronavirus wave that plunged India into the world’s biggest health crisis has the potential to worsen in the coming weeks, with some research models projecting that the death toll could more than double from current levels.

A team at the Indian Institute of Science in Bangalore used a mathematical model to predict about 404,000 deaths will occur by June 11 if current trends continue. A model from the Institute for Health Metrics and Evaluation at the University of Washington forecast 1,018,879 deaths by the end of July.

While coronavirus cases can be hard to predict, particularly in a sprawling nation like India, the forecasts reflect the urgent need for India to step up public health measures like testing and social distancing. c The US currently has the largest number of fatalities at around 578,000. 

India reported a record 3,780 deaths on Wednesday for an overall toll of 226,188, along with 382,315 new cases, taking its outbreak past 20.6 million infections. In recent weeks, the scenes on the ground, with long lines outside crematoriums and hospitals turning away ambulances, have painted a picture of a nation overwhelmed by the crisis.

“The next four to six weeks are going to be very, very difficult for India,” said Ashish Jha, the dean of Brown University School of Public Health. “The challenge is going to be to do things now that will make sure it is four weeks, not six or eight, and that we minimize how bad things will get. But in no way is India anywhere near out of the woods.”

A spokesperson for the health ministry couldn’t immediately be reached. The ministry said on Monday that in about a dozen states, including Delhi, Chhattisgarh and Maharashtra, there are early signs that the number of daily new infections are starting to plateau.

The Indian rupee has declined about 1% this quarter in Asia’s worst performance as investors turned cautious ahead of an unscheduled speech by India’s central bank governor Wednesday. The benchmark S&P BSE Sensex Index is down about 2% as foreign funds sold about $1.7 billion of the nation’s stocks.

Economic Impact

A prolonged crisis has the potential to dent the popularity of Prime Minister Narendra Modi as well as slow or reverse India’s recovery from last year’s economic recession. Bloomberg Economics lowered its growth projection for the year ending March 2022 to 10.7% from 12.6%, and even these numbers are flattered by a low base as activity ground to a halt due to a strict lockdown last year.

India’s central bank, meanwhile, has announced new loan-relief measures for small businesses and promised to inject 500 billion rupees ($6.8 billion) of liquidity to support the economy.

For public health researchers, a key concern is the relative dearth of coronavirus testing, which many scientists believe is causing a sharp undercounting of cases.

“It could honestly get a lot worse, which is hard to imagine given how staggering the impacts have already been when you see 400,000 new cases each day and you know that that’s probably an underestimation,” said Jennifer Nuzzo, a senior scholar at the Johns Hopkins Center for Health Security in Baltimore, Maryland.

The main metric that officials are watching is the test positivity rate, which is the percentage of people with positive test results. The overall positivity rate is 20% in India now, and in some parts of the country, it tops 40%, a shockingly high number that indicates as many as three-fourths of infections are being missed, said Jha.

The World Health Organization considers anything above 5% too high, saying that governments should implement social distancing measures until positivity rates are below that level for at least two weeks.

“Despite scaling up testing considerably, it’s still not enough to capture all the infected people,” said Soumya Swaminathan, chief scientist at the World Health Organization, speaking on Bloomberg TV. “So the numbers, while very high, are likely an underestimate of the true numbers of infections,” she said. “It’s a grim situation.”

Social Distancing

The goal is to run enough tests that a large number of infected people aren’t going undiagnosed. If only the sickest patients are tested, many people with milder disease or no symptoms at all may continue to unwittingly spread the disease.

 “There are reports of tests being considerably delayed and of patients delaying having to go to hospital as much as they can, given the stresses on the health system,” said Gautam Menon, a professor of physics and biology at Ashoka University, who also works on modelling outbreaks. “We don’t know enough about Covid-19 spread away from the major cities, in the rural heartland of India, although reports from there suggest that the situation is dire.”

The U.S. government, as part of a package of supplies for India, pledged last week to send one million rapid tests to India. There are several other things that could be done quickly to try to help staunch the outbreak. High on the list is wearing masks, a crucial element for disease control, said Catherine Blish, an infectious disease specialist and global health expert at Stanford Medicine in California.

Major cities in India already require people to wear masks, but such rules can be harder to implement in crowded slums and rural areas. Several states have introduced lockdowns, although Modi has resisted a national effort after one imposed by him last year fueled a humanitarian crisis with migrant workers fleeing the cities on foot and in some cases bringing the virus with them.

Lockdowns

The Indian Institute of Science has estimated that with a 15-day lockdown deaths could be lower at 300,000, falling to 285,000 with a 30-day lockdown. IMHE estimates a lower death toll of around 940,000 by the end of July with universal mask-wearing.

Vaccines will be the big way to remove risks, although it will take time to get there, public health experts say.

It takes several weeks for immunity to build after someone has been vaccinated. The process is even longer with those that require two shots, stretching the process out from six weeks to two months.

“The vaccines are working,” said Kim Mulholland, an Australian paediatrician and leader of the infection and immunity group at the Murdoch Children’s Research Institute in Melbourne. “They just haven’t got the capacity.”

Ultimately, cases will come down, it’s just a matter of when, said Michael Osterholm, director of the Center for Infectious Disease Research and Policy at the University of Minnesota, and an adviser to US President Joe Biden. Scientists still don’t have a good understanding of why Covid-19 comes in sudden, roller-coaster-like changes, he said.

“It will eventually burn itself through the population,” Osterholm said. “Within several weeks to a month and a half, you will see this peak come back down, and it’s likely to come down quickly.” 

Comments

Add new comment

  • Coastaldigest.com reserves the right to delete or block any comments.
  • Coastaldigset.com is not responsible for its readers’ comments.
  • Comments that are abusive, incendiary or irrelevant are strictly prohibited.
  • Please use a genuine email ID and provide your name to avoid reject.
News Network
April 25,2021

Bengaluru, Apr 25: The practical examinations of second-year pre-university college (PUC 2) courses which were scheduled to begin on April 28 across Karnataka have been postponed, said a circular issued by the Department of Pre University Education on Sunday.

Considering the requests from parents, teachers and students to postpone the exams in the wake of a spike in the Covid-19 cases across the state, the department has decided to act on them.

However, colleges have been directed to conduct practical exams after the completion of theory examinations. 

Comments

Add new comment

  • Coastaldigest.com reserves the right to delete or block any comments.
  • Coastaldigset.com is not responsible for its readers’ comments.
  • Comments that are abusive, incendiary or irrelevant are strictly prohibited.
  • Please use a genuine email ID and provide your name to avoid reject.
News Network
April 28,2021

Geneva, Apr 28: The World Health Organization said Tuesday that a variant of Covid-19 feared to be contributing to a surge in coronavirus cases in India has been found in over a dozen countries.

The UN health agency said the B.1.617 variant of Covid-19 first found in India had as of Tuesday been detected in over 1,200 sequences uploaded to the GISAID open-access database "from at least 17 countries".

"Most sequences were uploaded from India, the United Kingdom, USA and Singapore," the WHO said in its weekly epidemiological update on the pandemic.

The WHO recently listed B.1.617 -- which counts several sub-lineages with slightly different mutations and characteristics -- as a "variant of interest".

But so far it has stopped short of declaring it a "variant of concern".

That label would indicate that it is more dangerous than the original version of the virus by for instance being more transmissible, deadly or able to dodge vaccine protections.

India is facing surging new cases and deaths in the pandemic, and fears are rising that the variant could be contributing to the unfolding catastrophe.

The explosion in infections in India -- 350,000 new cases were recorded there on Tuesday alone -- has driven a surge in global cases to 147.7 million.

The virus has now killed more than 3.1 million people worldwide.

The WHO acknowledged that its preliminary modelling based on sequences submitted to GISAID indicates "that B.1.617 has a higher growth rate than other circulating variants in India, suggesting potential increased transmissibility".

It stressed that other variants circulating at the same time were also showing increased transmissibility, and that the combination "may be playing a role in the current resurgence in this country."

"Indeed, studies have highlighted that the spread of the second wave has been much faster than the first," the WHO said.

It highlighted though that "other drivers" could be contributing to the surge, including lax adherence to public health measures as well as mass gatherings.

"Further investigation is needed to understand the relative contribution of these factors," it said.

The UN agency also stressed that "further robust studies" into the characteristics of B.1.617 and other variants, including impacts on transmissibility, severity and the risk of reinfection, were "urgently needed".

Comments

Add new comment

  • Coastaldigest.com reserves the right to delete or block any comments.
  • Coastaldigset.com is not responsible for its readers’ comments.
  • Comments that are abusive, incendiary or irrelevant are strictly prohibited.
  • Please use a genuine email ID and provide your name to avoid reject.