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Share of women at senior positions in India has seen a drop, reveals WEF report

Share of women at senior positions in India has seen a drop, reveals WEF report
  • India ranks at 127 when it comes to overall gender parity, below Kuwait, Myanmar, Japan and African nations like Gambia.
  • It has improved its overall gender gap by eight places, marking a partial recovery towards its 2020 levels, finds the World Economic Forum report.
  • In terms of educational attainment, India ranks 26th in the world – at least over a 100 places over its overall gender parity.
In India, there is an uptick in wage parity when it comes to men and women compared to last year. However, the share of women in senior and technical roles has fallen in the same time period, according to a report released by the World Economic Forum.

The report elaborates that only 8.9% of Indian companies have female top managers and only a miniscule percentage — 1.8% of Indian companies boast of female-majority owners. It is noteworthy here that the Indian markets regulator, SEBI, has made it mandatory for women to be a part of company boards to top 1,000 listed companies in 2018.

Currently, the share of women who are a part of company boards in India stands at 17.1%, as per the report but this covers the entire gamut of listed and unlisted companies.

India’s ranking improves but…

India, which recently became the most populous country in the world, ranks 127 out of 149 countries as per Global Gender Gap Report 2023 Rankings. It ranks below its Asian counterparts like Kuwait, Myanmar, Japan and African nations like Gambia.

However, it has improved from the 135th rank it held in 2022 with research showing that the country has been able to close 64.3% of the overall gender gap. India has improved by 1.4 percentage points and eight positions since the last edition, marking a partial recovery towards its 2020 parity level , says WEF.

In spite of the improvement, it continues to remain low, even within the Southern Asian region too which has eight countries. India ranks below Bangladesh, Bhutan, Sri Lanka and Nepal. Only Pakistan, Afghanistan and Iran rank below India.

The rank benchmarks gender parity based on four parameters — economic participation and opportunity, educational attainment, health and survival, and political empowerment.

The wide gap between education & employment

What’s interesting is that India is able to educate its girls, but when it comes to employing and paying them it ranks low. In terms of educational attainment it ranks at 26th in the world – at least over a 100 places over its overall gender parity.

“The country has attained parity in enrolment across all levels of education (primary, secondary and tertiary). However, it has reached only 36.7% parity on economic participation and opportunity,” the report says.

In terms of wage equality for similar work, India ranks 116th. On the health and survival index, it showed an improvement in sex ratio at birth by 1.9% to 92.7% — after over a decade of slow progress.

India, which has a female president Droupadi Murmu, has registered a 25.3% parity when it comes to political empowerment. Women represent 15.1% of parliamentarians — the highest it has ever been since 2006.

Globally, since January 2022, nine women have come into power, with eight of them still holding their positions as of March 2023. “Depending on the political system of the country, these heads of state positions have varying powers in terms of national agenda setting and representation of the state,” the report said.

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