Women better off, gender gap is narrowing

  • HT Correspondent, New Delhi
  • |
  • Updated: Jan 22, 2010 23:56 IST

Women are doing better in India with gender-based disparities declining in a decade, says a new government study. 

Both Gender Development Index (GDI) and the Gender Empowerment Measurement  (GME) — two key parameters of women’s development — have shown improvement over a 10-year period from 1996 to 2006, says the study released by Women and Child Development of State Minister Krishna Tirath.

The government had decided to conduct its own study on Gender Human Development Indices as it felt that global development indices reported by the United National Development Programme (UNDP) did not correctly reflect India’s ground situation.

The GDI scores estimated for India were 0.514 in 1996 and 0.590 in 2006, showing an increase of 0.076 points, which is almost double of what the UNDP reports suggest. 

The GDI is the Human Development Index (HDI) adjusted for disparities between men and women based on infant mortality rate, life expectancy at the age of one, literacy rate and decent living based on earned inc ome. The GDI for India is lower than the HDI score at both points of time because of the existence of gender-based disparities in all four dimensions.

“The indices show that we still need to treat women equally,” Tirath said, claiming that the onus was on men.

Similarly, the Gender Empowerment Measure scores for India increased from 0.416 in 1996 to 0.497 in 2006. The parameters for the GEM score were political participation and decision-making power, economic participation power over economic resources.

D.K. Sikri, secretary of the WCD ministry, said the indices could be used by policymakers to frame policies to correct the disparities and ensure better implementation of existing programmes.

“The most serious aspect of gender discrimination that confronts us is violence against women, one manifestation of which is the alarmingly low female-male sex ratio. Special cognizance needs to be taken of this problem and actions taken to be put a stop to violence against women and girl child,” the report said.


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