India has climbed 21 spots to rank 87th on the World Economic Forum's Global Gender Gap Report 2016. In 2015, it was ranked 108th. The improvement in ranking, the report says, is driven largely by major improvements in education, where it has managed to close its gap entirely in primary and secondary education. With this jump in ranking, India has now overtaken China which is ranked 99thout of 144 countries. Iceland tops the latest rankings followed by Finland, Norway and Sweden. The report measures gender gap as progress towards parity between men and women in four areas - educational attainment, health and survival, economic opportunity and political empowerment.
A troubling finding of the report is that the global march towards parity in the key economic pillar has slowed down dramatically "with the gap - which stands at 59 per cent - now larger than at any point since 2008."As a consequence the report estimates that the "global economic gender gap will now not close until the year 2186."
India up 21 places in WEF gender gap report On two of these pillars, India has made progress in 2016 over the previous year.
On education attainment India has made considerable strides moving up from 125th rank in 2015 to 113th in 2016. On economic participation and opportunity too, India has moved up to 136th rank in 2016, from 139th the year before. But on health and survival, it has made little progress moving up by a mere one place over last year to rank 142nd in the world. On political empowerment it continues to be ranked 9th in the world.
But a rather peculiar aspect of this improvement is in the country's ranking on primary and secondary education. In 2015, India ranked 119th on enrolment in primary education and 118th on secondary education. But in the 2016 report, it moved up spectacularly to rank 1 on both sub-indices.
When asked the reasons behind such sharp improvements, a WEF official said the Global Gender Gap Report uses data from UNESCO for the primary school enrolment and secondary school enrolment indicators. Their data is updated periodically for all countries and last went through a major update for India in 2015. The new data indicates that India has indeed closed its gender gaps in these two areas although, for both boys and girls, enrolment in both primary and secondary education needs to be improved, the official said.
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