Nepal ranked second in South Asia in closing gender gap

It will take another 132 years to close the global gender gap. As crises are compounding, women's workforce outcomes are suffering and the risk of global gender parity backsliding further intensifies, however, Nepal seems to be doing better in gender equality, the report indicates.

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NL Today

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Kathmandu: Nepal has achieved progress in closing the gender gap being placed second among South Asian countries in closing the gender gap.

According to the Global Gender Gap Index 2022, Nepal has made advances in terms of closing the gender gap by 0.01 points and is placed in the 96th position. Bangladesh is at 71st position as other South Asian countries lie lower on the list, with Sri Lanka at 110th, the Maldives at 117th position, and Butan at 126th. Likewise, India has been placed at 135th position, and Pakistan and Afghanistan at 145th and 146th respectively, as per the report by World Economic Forum.

In an analysis of the eight regions surveyed by the report, South Asia has occupied the lowest position, with only 62.3 percent of the gender gap closed in 2022. Analyzing the current progress, the gender gap in South Asia is estimated to take 197 years to close. Nepal and Bangladesh are leading the closure of gender parity, with over 69 percent and 71 percent of their gender gaps closed respectively.

However, even though Nepal has seemingly progressed in the gender equality sphere, the global state of women’s equality seems to be deteriorating. In 2022, the Global Gender Gap Index gathered statistics from a total of 146 countries, delivering a basis for a thorough cross-country breakdown. Presently, the statistics show that gender parity stands at 68 percent, which is quite a step backward in contrast to 2019 before the pandemic shook the world’s economy.

Closing the gender gap worldwide is 135.6 years away. That is an increase of 36.1 years compared to 2019. Instead of closing the gap between the genders, there seems to be a bigger chasm forming, reads the report.

The report has attributed Covid-19 to the lagging behind in achieving gender equality. “Looking at the current situation, it is clear that the health emergency and the related economic downturn resulting from the pandemic has disproportionately affected women, resulting in the overturn of a lot of progress made in gender equality thus far. Most of the job layoffs seen during the pandemic have been women, which shows that working women aren’t as valued as their male counterparts,” states the report.

Iceland has once again attained first place, making it the country with the least gender parity in the world. The top five countries in the list haven’t changed compared to last year. However, Lithuania and Switzerland have lost their position in the top 10, being replaced by Nicaragua and Germany taking their places.

Only four countries in the list are outside of Europe, with New Zealand being fourth, Rwanda being sixth, Nicaragua being seventh and Namibia being eighth.

The quantity of women as skilled professionals is progressively climbing up, as is the progress towards wage equality, although the pace isn’t ideal. In spite of that, the representation of female leaders across the 156 countries covered by the index is only 26.1 percent, and just 22.6 percent of ministers worldwide are women, the report revealed.

At the current level of advancement, the World Economic Forum speculates that it will take 145.5 years to attain gender parity in politics. Even when it comes to economic participation and opportunity, there is a persistent lack of women in leadership positions, with women representing just 27 percent of all manager positions.

The stark lack of representation that women face in all walks of life to this day should be a matter of concern for all. There is an urgent need for reform, and it needs to come from governments, organizations, workplaces, industries as well as the ordinary people. Without an immediate call to action, the gender gap is at risk of amplifying even further, the report added.