A new index to measure global gender equality, launched on Monday, ranks India at 95th among 129 countries. The SDG Gender Index comes close on the heels of the gender gap index of the World Economic Forum where India was ranked 108th.
How the ranking works
The SDG Gender Index has been developed by Equal Measures 2030, a joint effort of regional and global organisations including African Women’s Development and Communication Network, Asian-Pacific Resource and Research Centre for Women, Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation, and International Women’s Health Coalition. It accounts for 14 out of 17 SDGs (sustainable development goals) that cover aspects such as poverty, health, education, literacy, political representation and equality at the workplace.
A score of 100 reflects the achievement of gender equality in relation to the targets set for each indicator. It means, for example, that 100% of girls complete secondary education, or that there is around 50-50 parity for women and men in Parliament. A score of 50 signifies that a country is about halfway to meeting a goal.
The big picture
The ranking found that the world is far from achieving gender equality with 1.4 billion girls and women living in countries that get a “very poor” grade. The global average score of the 129 countries — which represent 95% of the world’s girls and women — is 65.7 out of 100 (“poor” in the index).
Altogether, 2.8 billion girls and women live in countries that get either a “very poor” (59 and below) or “poor” score (60-69) on gender equality. Just 8% of the world’s population of girls and women live in countries that received a “good” gender equality score (80-89) and no country achieved an “excellent” overall score of 90 or above.
“We are failing to deliver on the promises of gender equality,” said Alison Holder, Director of Equal Measures 2030. Renu Khanna, joint national convenor of the Jan Swasthya Abhiyaan, one of the partners of EM2030, said that not all countries’ scores on the index correlate with national income-some countries perform better than would be expected based on their GDP per capita, and others underperform. India performs about as expected based on GDP per capita.
Key findings for India
India’s highest goal scores are on health (79.9), hunger & nutrition (76.2), and energy (71.8). Its lowest goal scores are on partnerships (18.3, in the bottom 10 countries worldwide), industry, infrastructure and innovation (38.1), and climate (43.4).
On indicators that define such goals, India scored 95.3 on the percentage of female students enrolled in primary education who are overage. Some of India’s lowest scores on indicators include the proportion of seats held by women in national parliaments (score 23.6; women made up 11.8% of Parliament in 2018). On seats held by women in the Supreme Court (4%), India has a score of 18.2.
On gender-based violence, indicators include proportion of women aged 20-24 years who were married or in a union before age 18 (27.3%), women who agreed that a husband/partner is justified in beating his wife/partner under certain circumstances (47.0%), and women aged 15+ who reported that they “feel safe walking alone at night in the city or area where she lives” (69.1%).