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Covid to delay gender parity: Study

NEW DELHI: As the global economy enters its third year of continued disruption due to the Covid pandemic, it will take another 132 years (compared to 136 in 2021) to close the gender gap, a report released by the World Economic Forum (WEF) has shown.
Iceland remains the world’s most gender-equal country, followed by Finland, Norway, New Zealand and Sweden, the report showed and cautioned that with a widening gender gap in the labour force, the cost of living crisis is expected to hit women hardest. The other countries in the top 10 include Rwanda, Nicaragua, Namibia, Ireland and Germany.
India stands at 135 out of 146 economies but India and Sri Lanka have progressed on closing the gender gap in the share of women in senior positions, according to the report. “Recovering ground since 2021, India registers the most significant and positive change to its performance on economic participation and opportunity. Labour-force participation shrunk for both men (by -9. 5 percentage points) and women (-3 percentage points) since 2021. However, in every other indicator India has gained in parity relative to the weighting of other indicators on the subindex,” according to the report.
South Asia (62. 3%) has the largest gender gap of all regions, with low scores across all measured gender gaps and little progress made in most countries since last edition. At its current pace, it will take 197 years to close the gender gap in the region. The economic gender gap has closed by 1. 8%, with increases in the share of women in professional and technical roles in countries including Bangladesh and India, as well as Nepal, the report said.
The report suggests that of the 146 economies surveyed, just one in five has managed to close the gender gap by at least 1% in the past year. As a result, while gains have been made in the past year, they have reduced the time it will take to reach gender parity by only four years. This progress does little to offset the setback of an entire generation recorded in 2020-2021 at the start of the pandemic, according to the report.



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