Pakistan stands at 151st position on the index of 153 countries as far as gender equality. Only Yemen and Iraq are behind Pakistan on the gender inequality. This index is based on four factors- economy-education-health and politics. The latest rankings on gender gap have been released by the World Economic Forum. Global Gender Gap Index Report 2020 published by the World Economic Forum (WEF). This report has painted a grim picture of gender inequality in Pakistan.
Pakistan was at 112th position in 2006 but slipped to 151st position in 2019-20 report. It is a significant drop in the rankings. The scorecard for the country places Pakistan at 150 in economic participation and opportunity, 143 in educational attainment, 149 in health and survival and 93 in political empowerment.
Pakistan slipped from 112 to 150 in economic participation and opportunity, from 110 to 143 in educational attainment, from 112 to 149 in health and survival and from 37 to 93 in political empowerment during the same period.
The report highlights that economic opportunities for women in Pakistan are limited with the country only managing to bridge 32.7 per cent of the gap between men and women in the workplace. According to the report, four Muslim countries — Egypt, Saudi Arabia, Yemen, and Pakistan — are the four worst-performers in the world where the number of women holding managerial positions is the lowest.
In health and survival, the gap widened to 94.6pc, which means that women in the country do not have the same access to healthcare as men. Among the seven South Asian countries included in the index, Pakistan charted at the very bottom. Bangladesh ranked 50, followed by Nepal, 101, Sri Lanka, 102, India, 112, Maldives, 123, and Bhutan, 131. South Asia has closed two-thirds of its gender gap. The region is home to 860 million women, three-fourths of whom live in India.
In terms of female representation in parliament and in cabinets, however, South Asia’s performance is largely in line with other emerging regions. For example, women represent 20pc or less of the parliament in six of the seven countries studied, the only exception being Sri Lanka.
It highlighted that factors such as stagnation in the proportion of women in the workplace and women’s declining representation in politics, coupled with greater inequality in access to health and education, offset improvements in wage equality and the number of women in professional positions.
After years of advances in education, health, and political representation, women registered setbacks in all three areas this year, the WEF said. Only in the area of economic opportunity did the gender gap narrow somewhat, although there was not much to celebrate, with the global wage gap narrowing to nearly 51pc, it added. To date, said the WEF, there was still a 32pc average gender gap that remained to be closed.
The report showed that there were now proportionately fewer women than men participating in the workforce, suggesting that automation was having a disproportionate impact on jobs traditionally performed by women.
Women, WEF observed, were significantly under-represented in growing areas of employment that require science, technology, engineering and mathematics skills. It decried the particularly low participation of women within the artificial intelligence field, where they made up just 22pc of the workforce.
Pakistan can boost its GDP nearly 30% for closing the gender gap, says a report the International Monetary Fund (IMF) released recently. Using empirical data and research statistics, the study determines that “women’s economic empowerment is a key to growth both through the direct impact of the size of the labour force on output and through the impact on productivity.
The IMF staff study places both India and Pakistan among the countries where enhancing financial inclusion would increase female labour force participation and entrepreneurship, support small and medium size enterprises, improve competitiveness and boost potential growth.
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