India was at a low 135 out of 146 countries in its Global Gender Gap (GGG) Index for 2022. India’s rank has been poor in the index in the past years too. The government has time and again and over the last two years in particular questioned the criteria laid out to attribute the rankings in the index
It is learnt that the WCD ministry has been raising the issue with WEF that the global index must recognise the participation of women in panchayats who account for a significantly large number of grassroots women locally elected at panchayat level and at local bodies. The WEF’s gender gap report is based on four parameters – economic participation and opportunity, educational attainment, health and survival, and political empowerment.
The inclusion will make the Gender Gap Report richer and better balanced. However, the focus should be on ensuring that the elected women enjoy real authority, and do not become proxies for their menfolk.
As of now the index as part of its assessment on political empowerment takes into account women elected to Parliament and only Union Cabinet ministers in the council of ministers. It does not take into account the ministers of state, elected representative in state assemblies and local government bodies. sources said.
However, on Monday Union minister Smriti Irani, took to Twitter to say, “At @MinistryWCD, we are happy to share that #WEF @Davos has recognised 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.” Irani has returned from Davos where she attended the WEF’s annual meeting and put forth India’s vision on diversity, inclusion, women’s participation in local bodies and panchayats as a reflection of women-led development. Irani added that WEF has also confirmed its willingness to study India’s gender budget system. This she said is a huge acknowledgement of PM Narendra Modi’s efforts to ensure women-led development.
In a letter from WEF to Irani, managing director of the Centre for the New Economy and Society, Saadia Zahidi said the forum will work with India over 2023-24 to strengthen collaboration around the agenda of women empowerment and work on “improving global data collection and cross-country benchmarking efforts to assess in a globally comparable way participation of women in local political decision-making”.
The WEF and India will also be working on showcasing 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. According to sources India is the first country to have worked on gendered disbursal of funds under the 15th finance commission. TNN