“We cannot succeed when half of us are held back.”- Malala Yousafzai.
Since ages, India has faced the issue of gender inequality. Many centuries have passed by and the fight has continued with little or no results in this end. This has also been proved by an index made by the Oxfam Advocacy group, according to which India ranks 132 out of 152 countries which were a part of the survey.
The index sought to judge the commitment of the countries towards reducing the gender inequality faced by them and while Sweden, Belgium, Denmark, Norway and Germany topped the rankings, India; Sri Lanka, Pakistan and Bangladesh rank 138th, 139th and 141st while Bhutan ranks in the bottom 10 at 143rd.
It was based on the government actions on social spending, taxes and labour rights. According to Oxfam, these are the basic credentials which lead to a difference in the rich-poor gap. A rising gender inequality negatively impacts the aggregate labour productivity levels and this can be seen by the drastic drop in the female-male labour participation rate. India ranks 149th out of 152 countries on social spending, 91st on progressive taxation and 86th on labour rights.
In yet another survey, carried out by the Monster Gender Pay Report 2016, which was conducted across industries, the overall gender pay gap in India stood at 25 per cent last year, a two-percentage point drop from 27 per cent in 2015.
The Oxfam report has also found that there has been a systematic discrimination against females in India’s labour force. During the last 10 years, the country has experienced a fall in the participation of women in the labour sector and the steps taken by the government have not proven to be sufficient.
In a statement given by the Oxfam CEO, Nisha Agrawal, she stated that “In the corporate sector, many listed companies seem to find it hard to hire even one competent woman for their board, a mandatory under the Companies Act…While the bulk of farming work is done by women, they own only about 10-15% of the land that they farm… It is this systematic discrimination against women and girls that is both a cause and a result of the inequality that drives poverty,”