Recently, the Global Gender Gap Report 2024 was released by the World Economic Forum (WEF).


  • The WEF Gender Gap Report 2024 ranks India 129th out of 146 countries, a decline from its previous position of 127th in 2023.
  • India ranked the third-lowest among the South Asian economies, lower than Bangladesh, Nepal, Sri Lanka, and Bhutan.
  • This decline is primarily attributed to a widening gender gap in education and political participation.
  • There was a marginal improvement in Economic Participation and Opportunity, indicating some progress in economic gender parity.
  • Only 2 out of 30 Union ministers in the newly formed Indian cabinet are women.
  • The number of female ministers in the Central Council of Ministers has decreased from 10 to 7.

Key Dimensions of Gender Parity:

  • Economic Participation and Opportunity: Measures women’s participation in the labour force, wage equality, and entrepreneurial opportunities.
  • Educational Attainment: Assesses girls’ access to education at all levels (primary, secondary, and tertiary) and literacy rates.
  • Health and Survival: Measures gender differences in life expectancy, maternal mortality rates, and access to healthcare.
  • Political Empowerment: Evaluates women’s representation in government positions (Parliament, state legislatures) and decision-making processes.

World Economic Forum (WEF)

It is an international organization headquartered in Geneva, Switzerland. It was founded on 24 January 1971 by German engineer Klaus Schwab.


  • The WEF aims to improve the state of the world by engaging business, political, academic, and other leaders of society to shape global, regional, and industry agendas. It focuses on critical issues like climate change, economic development, technological innovation, and social inclusion.

Major Reports by WEF

  • Global Competitiveness Report
  • Global Gender Gap Report
  • Energy Transition Index
  • Global Risk Report

India’s Performance:

Economic Parity

  • Economic Participation and Opportunity: India is ranked 142nd, indicating a significant gender gap in the workforce and economic opportunities.
  • In 2012, India’s economic parity peaked at 46%, the highest level recorded.
  • To reach the 2012 peak again, India needs a 6.2 percentage point improvement from the latest score.

For Bridging Economic Gaps:

  • Estimated earned income gap needs a reduction of 28.6%.
  • Legislative, senior officials and management roles require a 14.4% improvement in gender parity.
  • Labour-force participation rate needs a 45.9% increase in female participation.
  • Professional and technical workers’ gender gap needs to be reduced by 49.4%.

Political Empowerment

  • Despite some progress, India is ranked 65th, showing challenges in achieving gender parity in political representation.
  • India scores within the top 10 on the head-of-state indicator with a score of 40.7%, indicating significant female leadership at the highest level.
  • Representation of women at the federal level in ministerial positions is only 6.9%, indicating a low presence of women in senior government roles.
  • Women’s representation in parliament is 17.2%, showing a need for greater female participation in legislative processes.

Health and Survival

  • India is ranked 142nd, showing a large disparity in health outcomes between genders.

Educational Attainment

  • Educational Attainment: India is ranked 112th, reflecting a substantial gap in educational opportunities and achievements between men and women.
  • The gender gap in educational attainment contributes to a lower parity status for India compared to previous cycles.
  • While women’s enrolment rates in primary, secondary, and tertiary education are high, the increases have been modest.
  • The literacy rate gap between men and women is 17.2 percentage points, ranking India 124th in this indicator.

Regional Context: South Asia

South Asia has high political disparity but has improved by 4 percentage points towards political parity since 2006.

  • Ministerial Representation: Only Nepal, with 23.5%, approaches the global average for women’s ministerial representation.
  • Parliamentary Representation: Nepal surpasses the global average with 49.9% women’s representation in parliament.

Six out of seven economies in Southern Asia rank below the top 100 in gender parity, with only Bangladesh ranking 99th.

  • Southern Asia’s gender parity score is 63.7%, ranking seventh among eight regions. This was an improvement of +3.9 percentage points in its overall gender gap score since 2006.
  • At the current rate, Southern Asia will take seven generations to achieve gender parity.

Global Highlights

  • The 2024 Global Gender Gap Index shows that while no country has achieved full gender parity
  • Iceland (93.5%) is again ranked 1st and has been leading the index for a decade and a half.
  • Labour-force Participation: Women’s global labor-force participation rate has rebounded to 65.7% after a dip during the pandemic, indicating a recovery in female workforce involvement.
  • Global Gender Gap Closure: The world has closed 68.5% of the gender gap, showing overall progress towards gender equality but highlighting the need for continued efforts.
  • Europe: Europe has the least gender disparity across parameters, making it the leading region in gender equality.
  • Latin America and the Caribbean: The region has achieved its highest economic parity score to date (65.7%) and the second-highest political empowerment score (34%), indicating significant strides towards gender equality.

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