India Pushes for Women's Participation in Local Government in Global Gender Gap Report

India has successfully pushed for including women’s participation in local government bodies as a parameter for the World Economic Forum’s Global Gender Gap report. The World Economic Forum (WEF) ranked India at 135 out of 146 countries in its Global Gender Gap (GGG) Index for 2022. In 2021, India was ranked 140 out of 156 countries. The gender gap is the difference between women and men as reflected in social, political, intellectual, cultural, or economic attainments or attitudes.

WEF Recognizes India's Efforts

  • "At the Women and Child Development Ministry, we are happy to share that the World Economic Forum has recognized the need to enumerate women’s participation in local government bodies in the Gender Gap Report. This is a big victory for 1.4 million grassroots women locally elected at panchayat level in India," said Women and Child Development Minister Smriti Irani in a tweet.
  • Additionally, the WEF confirmed its willingness to study India’s Gender Budget System, which is a huge acknowledgement of PM @narendramodi Ji’s efforts to ensure women-led development," she said in another tweet. Ms. Irani had travelled to Davos to attend the WEF Annual Meeting.

WEF's Commitment to Improving Data Collection

  • In a letter to the Women and Child Development Minister, the Centre for the New Economy and Society of the WEF said it will work on improving data collection and cross-country benchmarking efforts to assess in a globally comparable way participation of women in local political decision-making.
  • The letter also said that the WEF would showcase on the Forum’s digital platform the impact achieved by the Indian Government through its Gender Budgeting System, promoting gender equality in all sectors and at all levels of governance. "We look forward to learning more about this work from the Finance Commission of India," it said.

Establishing a Skills and Gender Parity Accelerator

  • The WEF will also help establish a Skills and Gender Parity accelerator in India to identify and scale up targeted public-private initiatives that will prepare the Indian workforce for the future of work, support the development of the Indian digital, care and green economy and expand the skills of women for the new economy.

India's Traditional Struggles in Gender Gap Reports

  • Officials in the Women and Child Development Ministry said that India has traditionally not fared well in the Gender Gap Reports as parameters like the participation of women in grassroots democratic institutions like Panchayats have never been counted.

Synopsis

India's push for including women's participation in local government bodies as a parameter in the World Economic Forum's Global Gender Gap report is a significant victory for 1.4 million grassroots women locally elected at panchayat level in India. The WEF's commitment to improving data collection and cross-country benchmarking efforts, as well as establishing a Skills and Gender Parity accelerator in India, are important steps towards promoting gender equality in all sectors and at all levels of governance.

Written by IAS POINT

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