Women’s day in numbers: 9 grim reminders that Indian women are still a long way off from empowerment

Women’s day in numbers: 9 grim reminders that Indian women are still a long way off from empowerment
For the past few years, the International women’s day has been increasingly exploited by corporations to push products to women. And in the process failing to grasp the spirit of the day to reflect upon the pressing issues of gender inequality and some very real, existential struggles for Indian women.

Here’s a stock-take of how women in the country fare on various development fronts including economic and workplace opportunities.

23% women participation in the workforce
According to the latest data from the National Sample Survey Office (NSSO) for 2017-18 (yet to be released), female participation in the workforce has declined to 23.3% from 31.2 in 2011-12. It is a matter of grave concern as a greater number of women are participating in the examination for higher studies and competitive exams, reported Outlook.

In fact, India features among the countries with lowest female share of workforce with only 25.9% share, said another study released by Pew Research Center in March 2017. Withdrawal of women from work is now being attributed as the primary reason for a fall in India’s workforce.

Weak laws governing equal pay rights for women

India is among the worst countries when it comes to laws governing equal pay rights. It scored zero out of 100 when it comes to giving equal pay rights to women compared to men, said a recent report by the World Bank on “Women, Business, and the Law 2019,”However, it scored 100 out of 100 for “starting a job,” which measured laws letting women pursue a job, and getting married.

Slow improvement in sex ratio
India has been a poster child for unequal sex ratio from ages. However, the sex ratio has witnessed a marginal improvement from 933 female in 2001 to 940 in 2011 against every 1000 males, reported Economic Times.

According to the Population Census of 2011, population ratio in India was 940 females per 1000 males in 2011.

53% female literacy rate

There’s a huge gender gap in India when it comes to education and literacy. According to the Census 2011, “The overall literacy rate works out to be 64.8 %, the male literacy rate is 75.3% and that for females is 53.7%, showing a gap of 21.6 percentage points between the sexes at the national level.”

The gender gap in literacy rate is more in rural areas than urban areas. Kerala, Mizoram, Lakshadweep, Goa and Chandigarh are the top five positions in literacy. On the flip, Dadra & Nagar Haveli, Uttar Pradesh, Jammu & Kashmir, Arunachal Pradesh, Jharkhand, and Bihar are at the bottom.

Number of women in politics
The proportion of ministerial posts held by women in India is low. Although India once had a female leader, India Gandhi, today there are only 64 women in 545 of Member of Parliaments as of February 2019, according to World Economic Forum

In fact, most of the countries around the world never had a female leader.

Low representation in highest-earning Indian celebrity list by Forbes.
Only 18 women made it to this year’s Forbes list of 100 highest-earning Indian celebrities including sports. Deepika Padukone, who earned over ₹1,120 million in 2018, was ranked as the highest paid female celebrity in India. With that, she also became the first woman to make it to the top five on the overall list, standing at fourth place.

Widening gender wage gap
India also has the highest gender wage gap when it comes to hourly wages for labour. Women in India are paid 35% less than what men are paid, said a recent report by the International Labour Organisation. The gender wage gap is recorded as the highest among all the 73 countries included in the report.

Crime against women
India, which is among the few countries to maintain the list of sex offenders, have recently added over 500,000 names in the list. Overall, there were nearly 338,954 cases registered for crimes committed against women in 2016. A further breakdown revealed that most of the cases were reported under violence by husband or his relatives (32.6%t), assault on woman (25%), kidnapping(19%), and rape (11.5%).

Hardly any Indian women billionaires
The number of women billionaires representing India in Forbes billionaires rich list 2019 was extremely low. Only one woman, Savitri Jindal, from Jindal group could make it to the top 500 people at 290 rank with a net worth of $5.9 billion.

See also:
India should bar political parties with low women representation, demands activist group