Magazine

English Hindi

Index

Vulnerable Sections

How to bridge Gender gap in India : Mckinsey Global Institute Report

How to bridge Gender gap in India : Mckinsey Global Institute Report

Relevance

  • GS 2|| Governance || Vulnerable Sections || Women

 Why in News?

  • India’s gender gap is best bridged by improving ease of doing business for women and increasing their political empowerment.

 Highlights

  • According to the McKinsey Global Institute, India’s economy could earn an additional $700 billion to $2.9 trillion by 2025 by enabling its women to participate in the economy on par with men.
  • But India’s ranking in the recently released World Economic Forum’s 2018 Gender Gap Index remained stuck on 108th position for the second year in a row.
  • Also, we ranked lower than last year on the ‘Economic Participation of women in the economy’ and ‘Political Empowerment’ parameters within the index.
  • However, there are a bunch of opportunities that the government can leverage to improve India’s rankings and bridge some part of the 33% gender gap.
  • This will require raising the political commitment on the issue significantly, building a strong public-private partnership and initiating government actions on a war-footing.

 Way Ahead

  • Increase women’s representation in Parliament – At present in India, the proportion of women in Parliament is 12% and women in ministerial positions is 19%.
  • Women legislators are needed because they are likely to advocate changes that promote women.
  • Also, according to UN University, they have also proven to improve the economic performance of their constituencies 1.8% more than male legislatures.
  • Hence, the Women’s Reservation Bill should be immediately passed by the LokSabha.
  • Also, the parties can voluntarily reserve quotas for women when drawing up their list of candidates.
  • According to the World Atlas of Gender Quotas, such voluntary quotas have proved to be the single most effective tool for ‘fast-tracking’ women’s representation in elected bodies of government.
  • Implement pending policy actions – Implementing the proposed national program for crèche and day-care facilities will make subsidized day-care options available to working mothers.
  • Evidence shows that a 50% reduction in the cost of childcare increases the labour supply of young mothers by 6.5-10% (IMF). 
  • Also, paid paternity leave can be mandated by either passing the proposed Paternity Bill or amending the Maternity Act to split the existing 26-week paid maternity leave into maternity and paternity or family leave. 
  • This will ensure that women are not the sole “cost-burden” on employers. 
  • The government could also bring in further policy reforms by taking inspiration from recent policy initiatives by other countries.
  • g. Malaysia’s tax-incentive given for women re-joining the workforce after a break, France’s fine on companies that underpay women, or Tunisia’s domestic violence law that protects women from abuse and bans harassment in public could be emulated.
  • Improvements in Ease of Doing Business – An engendered approach to improve the ease of doing business should be made by addressing specific problems of women entrepreneurs.
  • For instance, since several female-run businesses are in the informal sector and lack access to information.
  • Hence, the government will need to run strategic media campaigns to educate business women about information sources and answer frequently-asked questions.
  • Also, dedicated women’s help desks at the relevant government departments can help in addressing complaints.
  • Additionally, the mindset barriers that women face should be addressed by conducting gender sensitivity training programs for government and banking officials.