Shifting gender dynamics in India – The Big Picture – RSTV IAS UPSC

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  • GS-1: Social empowerment – role of women
  • GS-2: Mechanisms, laws, institutions and Bodies constituted for the protection and betterment of these vulnerable sections. 

In News: The National Statistical Office operating under Ministry of Statistics and Programme Implementation (MoSPI) has recently released the Women and Men in India report. The report consolidates the crucial socio-economic indicators that portray gender situation in the country.

Gender equality has been increasingly recognized as being essential to the process of sustainable development and the formulation of effective national development policies and programmes. Gender statistics and indicators are important tools for promoting gender equality and implementing a gender mainstreaming approach throughout the entire policy cycle.

The need of Gender equality also reverberates through the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development, where gender issues are duly addressed in different Goals. Goal 5 of the SDGs is specifically dedicated for achieving gender equality and empowering all women and girls. Gender statistics provide the required data for tracking the attainments.

A. Population and Related Statistics

  • India’s projected population in 2021 is 136.13 Crore with 48.65% female population. 
  • The projected sex ratio is likely to increase from 943 in 2011 to 948 in 2021. At all India level, the sex ratio has increased from 933 in 2001 to 943 in 2011. 
  • Notable increase in the sex ratio has been recorded in Delhi (5.7%), Chandigarh (5.3%) and Arunachal Pradesh (5.0%). Contrary to this, Daman &Diu has recorded decline of 13% in sex ratio. 
  • In 2011, sex ratio for religious groups viz. Hindus, Muslims, Christians, Sikhs, Buddhists and Jains was 939, 951, 1023, 903, 965 and 954 respectively. 
  • As per SRS, sex ratio at birth was 899 in 2016-18 against 896 in 2015-17. In rural areas, the ratio was 900 in 2016-18 as compared to 898 in 2015-17 and in urban areas it was 897 in 2016-18 as compared to 890 in 2015-17. 
  • Women’s mean age at marriage at all India level in 2018 is 22.3 years which showed an increase of 0.2 years from 2017. In rural areas, women’s mean age at marriage at all India level has increased by 0.1 years in 2018 from 2017 whereas in urban areas, it has increased by 0.3 years in 2018 from 2017.

B. Health Statistics

  • In 2018, Age Specific Fertility Rate (ASFR) for the females belonging to the age group 25- 29 years was recorded highest at 146.4 while it was 122.9 for the females in the age group of 20- 24 years. Also, ASFR for the age-group 20-24 years decreased from 173.8 in 2015 to 122.9 in 2018 whereas it was increased for the age group 30-34 years from 77.6 to 94.7 during the same period.
  • As per SRS 2018, the Infant Mortality Rate (IMR) has decreased from 39 in 2014 to 32 in 2018. 
  • Maternal Mortality Ratio (MMR) declined from 212 in 2007-09 to 113 in 2016-18. Over a span 10 years, MMR in the states of Assam, Uttar Pradesh, Rajasthan, Bihar and Odisha.
  • As per SRS 2018, Total Fertility Rate (TFR) for literate population of rural India was observed at 2.3 as compared to1.7 in urban areas. There has been a significant difference in the age specific fertility rate of the age group 20-24 years in rural (132.8) and in Urban (90.7). 
  • As per SRS Report, Adolescent (15-19 years) Fertility rate at all India level has declined 
  • The percentage of women who had at least four Ante- Natal Care (ANC) visits during their pregnancy is lowest in Nagaland (20.7%) and highest in Goa (93%) followed by Lakshadweep (88.3%), Andaman & Nicobar Islands (83.4%). 
  • Nearly 100% Institutional delivery were observed in the States/UT of Kerala, Goa and Lakshadweep and lowest in Nagaland (45.7%).
  • New HIV incidence per 1000 uninfected population significantly decreased from 0.07 in 2017 to 0.05 in 2019.

C. Education

  • At all India level, the literacy rate has increased from 73 in 2011 to 77.7 in 2017. It is observed that the female and male literacy rate in 2017 is at 70.3and 84.7 respectively.
  • The literacy rate for persons of age 7 years and above is observed as 73.5 and 87.7 in rural and urban areas respectively. The gender gap in rural is 16.5 while this gender gap is 9.4 in urban areas.
  • The Gender gap in the literacy rates was the highest for Rajasthan (23.2), followed by Bihar (19.2) and Uttar Pradesh (18.4). In urban areas, the highest gender gap was observed in Bihar (20.2) followed by Rajasthan (16.5). In rural areas, the highest gender gap was observed in Rajasthan (25.0) followed by Uttar Pradesh (20.1) and Bihar (19.9).
  • Only 8.3% of the females of age 15 years & above had successfully completed graduation and above level of courses, while 12.8 % of males of age 15 years and above had successfully completed graduation and above level of courses.
  • The Humanities was the most preferred course among females (53.9 %) and males (46.4 %) followed by Science and Commerce
  • Only 3.1 % females and 4.5 % males were pursuing technical/professional courses.
  • The Gender Parity Index (GPI) in higher education increased from 0.94 in 2016-17 to 0.97 in 2017-18. An increasing trend in GPI was also observed in SC & ST categories from 2016-17 to 2017-18.

D. Participation in Economy

  • In the rural sector, the Worker Population Ratio (WPR) was 19.0 for females and 52.1 for males. In Urban sector, the ratio is 14.5 for females and 52.7 for males. In both rural and urban areas, WPRs for females were considerably lower than WPRs for males.
  • In the rural areas, both females and males, the maximum WPR for persons in the age group of 15 years and above has been obtained in Dadra & Nagar Haveli. In urban areas, maximum female WPR has been obtained in Sikkim and maximum male WPR in Daman & Diu.
  • Majority of the females (59.6%) and males (57.4%) workers in usual status (ps+ss) were self-employed in rural area. In urban sector, 54.7% femalesand 47.2% males were regular wage/salaried employee.
  • The share of workers in Agriculture Sector has shown declined trend since 43rd round of NSS to (1987-88) to PLFS (2018-19). In the Trade, Hotel & Restaurant sector, on the other hand, the share of workers has shown an increasing trend.
  • At All India level, the average earning of casual worker, both female and male, shown an increasing trend over all the quarters. The earnings of female worker continued to lag behind that of male worker.
  • Females spent in a day on an average 247 minutes on “Unpaid domestic services for household members” and 61 minutes on “Employment and related activities” whereas average time spent by males was 25 minutes per day and 263 minutes per day respectively on the same activities.

E. Participation in Decision Making

  • The representation of women in Central Council of Ministers has declined over the years. The proportion of women Ministers is 9.26% in 2020.
  • There were 437.8 million women electors in Seventeenth Lok Sabha Election (2019) vis-à-vis 397.0 million in Sixteenth Lok Sabha Elections (2014). Also, the percentage of female electors participating in General Elections went up from 65.6%in Sixteenth to 67.2%in Seventeenth Lok Sabha Elections.
  • A total of 78 women members, constituting 14% of the house of parliament (MPs) have been elected for Seventeenth Lok Sabha the highest since independence. The highest number (11) of women members of parliament in 17thLok Sabha is came from both Uttar Pradesh and West Bengal.
  • In judiciary, the highest number of women judges is 10 in Punjab & Haryana High Court followed by 9 in Madras High Court. There are no female judges in the High Courts of Patna, Manipur, Meghalaya, Tripura and Uttarakhand.
  • The highest women participation in Panchayati Raj Institutions was observed in the States of Rajasthan (56.49%) followed by Uttarakhand (55.66%) and Chhattisgarh (54.78%).

F. Impediments in Empowerment

  • In 2019, three major crimes viz.Cruelty by Husband and Relatives (31%), Assault on women with intent to outrage her modesty (22%) and Kidnapping & Abduction (18%) constituted71% of the total crime committed against women
  • Of the total cases of crime against women due for investigated in 2019, 66% were disposed off. Maximum disposed (71%) was in the category of “crime head of Assault on women with intent to outrage her modesty” followed by those in category “Attempt to commit rape (70%)” and “rape (67%)”.
  • Among the States/UTs, the highest share of crime against women was in Uttar Pradesh(14.75% of all India crime).
  • Karnataka reported highest percentage (44.4%) of the ever married women aged 15-44 years was experienced physical or sexual violence committed by their husbands as against 20.6% in 2015-16; followed by Manipur (39.6%) in 2019-20as against 53.2% in 2015-16. However, in Lakshadweep, only 1.3% of such women experienced such violence.

Note: Global Gender Gap Report 2021

  • Released by: World Economic Forum
  • India has fallen 28 places 
  • It is now one of the worst performers in South Asia, 
  • It is ranked below neighbouring countries – Bangladesh, Nepal, Bhutan, Sri Lanka and Myanmar.
  • India’s rank: 140 among 156 countries.
  • South Asia incidentally is one of the worst performing regions, followed only by the Middle East and northern Africa.
  • Overall, many countries have fared worse in this year’s rankings compared to last year’s, on account of economic performance.
  • On its current trajectory, it will now take 135.6 years to close the gender gap worldwide.
  • Women represent only 26.1% of some 35,500 parliament seats and just 22.6% of over 3,400 ministers worldwide
  • In 81 countries, there has never been a woman head of state, as of January 15, 2021.

Connecting the dots:

  1. Measures taken by government regarding women welfare
  2. Explain the concept of gender budgeting? Why is it significant? Explain with the help of suitable examples.

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