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Nagpur City No 1 eNewspaper : Nagpur Today

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Published On : Fri, Mar 8th, 2019
Featured / Featured News | By Nagpur Today Nagpur News

So we are Indian women of circa 2019?

Let’s first of all congratulate each other on being born, or rather being allowed to be born. Do you know up to 5 crore girls are “misssing”over the past century due to female infanticide/ foeticide?

Even the latest census – from 2011 – shows that the population ratio in India is 943 females for 1000 males. The lowest is in Punjab where it is just 798/ 1000 and then Gujarat with 883/ 1000. (Child sex ratio).It is only in the southern states of Kerala and Puducherry that females exceed males 1084 and 1037 respectively.

True, your chances of going to school and getting educated have been brighter than your mother’s or grandmothers’ but the parity between girls and boys is increasing here too. Many reasons why girls drop out. To help mother out at home or work as domestic labour; because going out is unsafe – in rural India schools are still 4-5 Kms away and there is no school transport – they either walk or cycle. And finally to get married! Don’t get shocked. Even today almost half (45%) of Indian girls are married off before the age of 18.
As a some result India’s performance on educational attainment of females is quite dreadful. The country ranked 112, (among 145) despite managing to bridge the gender gap in enrollment in primary and tertiary education.

So you are one of the few who managed to cross all these obstacles, went to school, went to college too and got yourself a professional degree. Now what? A quick spot survey will also show that there is a 50% chance you are a housewife, looking after children and kids.

And where women do go to the work place, they are likely to be paid 27% less than men for equal work over equal time.

The economic cost of non-working women

We live in the safe and secure feeling that to work or not work – specially after marriage, is purely our personal choice. That is not so. The country, the world pays a price for it by way of loss of potential revenue.

In a bid to promote the urgency around gender equality initiatives across the globe, well known consulting firms have increasingly been highlighting the economic cost of gender inequality. This trend gained momentum in 2015, when accounting and advisory firm Grant Thomson published a report stating that a lack of women in senior leadership roles potentially costs the US, India, and the UK a staggering $655 in GDP per year.

India is the country that stands to gain the most from inclusion, with the potential to increase its usual GDP by a staggering 18% through increased participation, amounting to a total of $770 billion by 2025. Nevertheless, the high potential is nothing more than a representation of the poor state of affairs in the current scenario.

When will the gender gap close?

The World Economic Forum’s (WEF) Global Gender Gap Report in 2015, which looked at 145 economies, estimated that it could take another 118 years for women to close the pay gap with men.

India ranked shockingly low in WEF’s Global Gender Gap report. India’s ranking slipped five points in 2015 from a year ago to 139 out of 145 countries on the economic participation and opportunity index for women. The study pointed out that India’s score on economic equality is a dismal 0.383, where zero stands for inequality and one represents perfect equality.

India hardly fared better on economic participation and opportunity, finishing at 139. That’s not surprising considering women’s labour participation in India stands at around 28%. And about 66% of the work women do remains unpaid, compared to just 12% of the work undertaken by men.

India, unsafe for women. But with wide disparities.

Within the country itself, there are wide regional disparities. For instance, Goa is the safest place for women in India, performing well on parameters such as poverty, protection, education, and health, ccording to a report released by the ministry of women and child development on Nov. 01. On the other hand, states such as Bihar and Jharkhand perform poorly on all parameters. A few states, including Punjab and Himachal Pradesh, score well on education but rank badly on poverty and sex ratios.

The only bright spot is political empowerment, where it ranked 15. To retain this position, however, India will need a new generation of female political leadership, the report added. Even on this parameter, women account for less than 20% of all ministerial jobs and parliamentary seats.

Makes sense.

In a large nation with many states, how many woman Chief Ministers do we have? Just one!

How many females judges does the Supreme Court have? A grand total of three – which is the largest number since independence!

So let’s dwell on these real issues today, rather than letting the occasion of IWD be hijacked as the perfect day to advertise jewellery, apparel and cosmetics to the ” weaker sex.”

It’s time Indian women themselves stop thinking and judging themselves by how they look and what they wear rather than what they do and how they think of themselves.

This is what the International Woman’s Day should be about. To see where we are on the map… and measure how far we have to still go.

Sunita Mudaliar

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