Gender Equality: Not There Yet

No nation has achieved the goal of gender equality, but some are much closer than others.

Nobody thought achieving gender equality would be fast or easy, but surely some of the world’s developed countries have managed to get there. Evidently not.

According to the Sustainable Development Goals (SDG) Gender Index, which is compiled by Equal Measures 2030, an independent research and advocacy group focused on gender equality, no country has achieved an overall “excellent” score of 90 or above. Only Denmark comes close, with a score of 89.3. The other four countries in the top five are Finland, Sweden, Norway and the Netherlands. The index, now in its second year, measures the status of gender equality and is compatible with 14 of the United Nations’ 17 Sustainable Development Goals in 129 countries.

“Nearly 40% of the world’s girls and women live in countries failing on gender equality,” notes the report accompanying the index. The bottom five countries designated “very poor,” are Niger, Yemen, the Republic of the Congo, the Democratic Republic of the Congo and Chad. Scoring is done on a scale from 0-100, with 90 and above being an excellent ranking and anything below a 69 as poor. India joins the group with a score of 56.2.

Johanna Lokhande, national coordinator of the National Centre for Advocacy Studies, Pune, is not surprised India received a poor ranking. “The country still grapples with the issue of gender discrimination and violence against women,” she says. “Even after consistent protest and activism, the violence rate has not reduced.”

Progress will require persistent effort, Lokhande contends: “Increased political participation of women and recognition of women’s labor in the workforce is the need of the hour.”