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Gender Index: India near the bottom

india Updated: Nov 10, 2009 01:00 IST
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India may be the world's second fastest growing economy but when it comes to man-woman equality the country figures at the bottom of the table, ranked 114th among 134 countries by the World Economic Forum.

Worse, sharing concern of Nobel laureate Amartya Sen over female foeticide and 25 million "missing women" in India, the WEF rankings confirm the gender gap on health and surival issues.

The India Gender Gap Review 2009 released at the India Economic Summit here ranked the country at 114th position, behind Bangladesh, Sri Lanka and Nepal - showing thereby that women in these countries share resources with men more equally than in India.

The Geneva-based international organisation, known for its global conferences and studies, has made strong remarks against the wide inequalities between the health facilities extended to males and females.

"We find that there are still persistent gaps in health and survival, a fact that contributes to India's 'missing' women," it said.

It said close to 300 Indian women die every day during childbirth or of pregnancy-related causes, and the country has the worst sex ratios at birth in the world, ranking 131st on this variable.
Particiapting in a session on female talent at the IEF, PEPSICO Chairperson and CEO Indra Nooyi said, "If you do not treat women fore well society will not progress."

However, India's performance in empowering women politically, relative to the rest of the work, is strong, ranking at the 24th position.

Women hold 11 per cent of the positions in Parliament and 10 per cent ministerial-level positions.

As Indira Gandhi remained the Prime Minister for 16 years, India was ranked fourth on the indicator relating to number of years that a female leader has held at the head of government position in the last 50 years.

The survey, which reviewed attitude of large companies vis-a-vis their women employees, said over time "a nation's competitiveness depends significantly on whether and how it educates and utilizes its female talent".

Commenting on the issue, Chanda Kochchar,Managing Director and CEO of ICICI Bank said the women power can add to the economic strength of the country.

"I am a believer on gender neturality. If it (the ratio of working women) goes up to 50 per cent in 20 years, we will be adding 0.5 per cent to our GDP every year," Kochchar said.

All other BRIC nations - Brazil, Russia, China- are ahead of the gender equality gap, the WEF report revealed.