Global Gender Gap Report 2021

The World Economic Forum (WEF) has released the Global Gender Gap Report 2021. India has ranked 140 among 156 countries in Global Gender Gap Index 2021, which is 28 spots lower than its 2020 ranking. Iceland has topped the rankings. 

The report states that due to the COVID-19 pandemic, the gender gaps which were already closed have been partially re-opened. Globally, the economic gender gap may be between 1% and 4% wider than reported.

Gender Equality is one of the prime goals of Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs). Hence, the key highlights of the Global Gender Gap Report 2021 tend to reflect on the performance of the world towards the achievement of the Goal 5 of the SDGs among other goals. 

This article brings you the key highlights of the latest WEF’s Global Gender Gap Report along with the latest Global Gender Gap Index Rankings 2021. The knowledge about Gender Gap Parity and this report’s evaluation will be useful for both prelims and mains examination of the IAS Exam

Facts for UPSC Prelims:

Who publishes the Global Gender Gap Report? World Economic Forum
When was the first Global Gender Gap Report published? 2006
Which is the latest edition of the Global Gender Gap Report? Global Gender Gap Report 2021 is the 15th and the latest edition of the report. 
How has India performed in the Global Gender Gap Index 2020 and 2021? India’s rank in indices 2020 and 2021:

Global Gender Index 2020 – 112

Global Gender Index 2021 – 140 (-28 Spots)

Global Gender Gap Index

There are four dimensions based on which the Global Gender Index evaluates the performance of the countries:

  1. Economic Participation & Opportunity
  2. Education Attainment
  3. Health and Survival
  4. Political Empowerment

Key Highlights of the Global Gender Gap Report 2021

  1. It will take 135.6 years to close the gender gap worldwide
    • To attain Gender Gap Parity, the average distance completed is 68 percent. 
    • Large countries’ performance has deteriorated.
  2. It will take 145.5 years to attain gender parity in politics
    • The largest gender gap is present in the political empowerment dimension. 
    • Only 22 percent of the gender gap in political empowerment has been closed so far. 
    • Important Facts – Concerns:
      1. Out of 35500 parliament seats across the world, women represent only 26.1 percent of the seats (9265 approximately)
      2. Out of 3400 ministers worldwide, women ministers are 22.6 percent of those. (768 approximately)
      3. As of 15th January 2021, none of 81 countries out of 156 countries (Considered in Global Gender Index 2021) had a woman as the head of the state.
    • Togo and Belgium are two countries to elect their first women prime ministers:
      1. Togo elected Victoire Tomegah Dogbé in 2020
      2. Belgium elected Sophie Wilmès in 2019.
  3. It will take 267.6 years to complete the gender gap in economic participation and opportunity. 
    • After politics, economic participation and opportunity remain the largest gender gap dimension. 
    • 58% of the gender cap in this dimension has been closed so far.
    • Two opposing trends witnessed:
      1. Trend 1 – There is an increase in the proportion of women among skilled professionals and also in wage equality
      2. Trend 2 – Income disparities are still an issue as they are still only part-way towards being bridged. Also, the number of women in leadership positions remains low. (Only 27 percent of total people in managerial positions are women.)
    • In selected countries, the impact of pandemic on women participation in the labour force led to the widening of the gender gap. 
  4. It will take another 14.2 years to close the gender gap in the dimension of education attainment. While the time to close the gap in health and survival is still unfixed. 
    • The Gender Gap in Education Attainment and Health and Survival has been nearly closed. 
    • 95 percent of the gender gap in education attainment has been closed; while 96 percent of that has been closed in health and survival gender gap. 
    • 37 countries are at parity in terms of education attainment. 

Get all the important international organization reports in the linked article. 

Impact of COVID 19 in Gender Gap – GGGR 2021

Job Loss

As per International Labour Organization (ILO); during the pandemic, five percent of all employed women lost their jobs. 3.9 percent of employed men lost their job. Consumer sector, Non-profits, and Media and Communication (Sectors with higher women participation) saw a decline of women’s hiring into leadership roles. 

Increasing Gender Parity in Future Work

There is an increase in occupational gender segregation in the wake of COVID-19 pandemic. It is portrayed as a major challenge for gender parity as far as the future of jobs is concerned. The GGGR mentions, “Only two of the eight tracked “jobs of tomorrow” clusters (People & Culture and Content Production) have reached gender parity, while most show a severe underrepresentation of women.”

Sectors where Gender Gap is expected

As per the Global Gender Gap Report 2021; the sectors where women are underrepresented even today would face difficulty in terms of gender parity in jobs in future. These sectors are:

  1. Cloud Computing – 14 percent of the total workforce is women.
  2. Engineering – 20 percent of the total workforce is women. 
  3. Data and Artificial Intelligence – 32 percent of the total workforce is women. 

Job Switching Gender Gap

GGGR and Linkedin have collaborated to measure the difference between men and women’s likelihood to make an ambitious job switch. According to which, women find it difficult to make a switch to the fields where they are currently underrepresented:

  1. Cloud Computing – The job switching gap is 58 percent.
  2. Engineering – The job switching gap is 42 percent.
  3. Product Development – The job switching gap is 19 percent. 

To quote the report, “The pandemic is likely to have a scarring effect on future economic opportunities for women, risking inferior reemployment prospects and a persistent drop in Income.”

Way Ahead 

Gender-positive recovery policies can help meet these challenges:

  1. The investment should be increased in the care sector. The similar increase should be into equitable access to care leave for both genders. 
  2. National government should come forward with policies that arrest occupational segregation by gender. 
  3. To attain more gender-equal future of work, nations have to come up with effective mid-career reskilling policies, combined with managerial practices, which embed sound, unbiased hiring and promotion practices

Global Gender Gap Index 2021 Rankings 

Which is the most gender-equal country?

Iceland, for the 12th time, has topped the index. 

Which are the most-improved countries in 2021?

The five countries that are the most-improved countries in 2021 are:

  1. Lithuania
  2. Serbia
  3. Timor-Leste,
  4. Togo
  5. United Arab Emirates

Which countries are the newest addition in the Global Gender Gap Index 2021?

Three countries have been assessed for the first time in Global Gender Gap Index:

  1. Afghanistan – It is at the bottom of the index ranking 2021 with 156th rank. 
  2. Guyana – It ranked 53rd.
  3. Niger – It ranked 138th. 

Which region has made the most progress in Gender Parity?

Western Europe has made the most progress. It has closed 77.6 percent of the gender gap so far. It is followed by:

  1. North America – 76.4 percent
  2. Latin America and Carribean – 71.2 percent
  3. Eastern Europe and Central Asia – 71.1 percent

Bangladesh is the only country where more women have held head-of-state positions (27 years) than men in the past 50 years.

Which regions in the world have the largest gap in gender parity?

As per Global Gender Gap Report 2021, the Middle East and North Africa region remains the area with the largest gap with 39.1 percent of the gender gap yet to be closed. 

How much time will the regions take to close the gender gaps?

As per the data available till March 2021:

  1. Western Europe will take 52.1 years to close the gender gap. 
  2. North America will take 61.5 years to close the gender gap. 
  3. Latin America and Carribean will take 68.9 years to close the gender gap. 

All other regions are reported to be taking over 100 years to close the gender gap. South Asia is evaluated to be taking 195.4 years to close the gender gap. 

India in Global Gender Gap Index 2021

India has fallen 28 spots at 140 in the Global Gender Gap Index this year. In South Asia, it is one of the worst performers in terms of gender gap. The Global Gender Gap Index Rankings of its neighbours are given below:

  1. Afghanistan – 156
  2. Sri Lanka – 132
  3. Myanmar – 102
  4. China – 107
  5. Nepal – 106
  6. Bhutan – 130
  7. Pakistan – 153
  8. Bangladesh – 147
  9. Maldives – 128

In the first Global Gender Gap Report in 2006, India ranked 98. In Global Gender Gap Report 2021, the rank of India in different parameters is given below:

  1. Economic Participation and Opportunity – 151
  2. Educational Attainment – 114
  3. Health and Survival – 155
  4. Political Empowerment – 51

Learn about the discussion held in RSTV: Big Picture on Bridging Gender Gap in the linked article. 

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