North East India has reasons to be proud as according to a recent McKinsey Global Institute’s (MGI) ‘The Power of Parity: Advancing Women Equality in India’ report, Mizoram and Meghalaya are the two States in the country with the least gender gap. The gender parity in the two Northeastern states, along with that of Kerala, Goa, and Sikkim, are roughly in line with that of Argentina, China, or Indonesia, the report says. However, on a sour note, another North Eastern State Assam along with Bihar, Madhya Pradesh, Jharkhand, and Uttar Pradesh have been grouped as India’s bottom five States on gender parity by MGI. The situation in these States is similar to that in Chad and Yemen. The report says the top five States account for just 4% of the country’s female working-age population, while the bottom five comprises a much larger 32%.
‘Indian women face extremely high inequality on two of three dimensions — physical security and autonomy (sex ratio at birth and intimate partner violence). They face high inequality on the third, child marriage,’ the report adds. The report, which analyzed 15 gender equality indicators across 95 countries in an attempt to quantify the economic potential of closing the gender gap around the world, used a new score — India Female Empowerment Index or Femdex — based on a subset of 10 of the 15 indicators for which data are available at the state-level in India.
Report on gender equality in India
The report adds that gender inequality in India is high or extremely high on three dimensions — gender equality in work, legal protection and political voice, and physical security and autonomy — and medium to high on the fourth dimension of essential services and enablers of economic opportunity. In terms of gender equality in work, just Meghalaya and Mizoram show parity. In case of gender equality in physical security and autonomy, Himachal Pradesh scores highest.