WEF Report Discloses Lamentable Conditions Of Pakistani Women

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The report said that Pakistan’s progress has stagnated, saying that the estimated time to close the gender gap has now increased to 136.5 years. Pakistan featured among the bottom 10 countries in two of the four sub-indexes. The country was ranked 152nd in economic participation and opportunity and 153rd in health and survival.

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Pakistan ranks among the worst four countries in gender parity

Pakistan has been ranked among the worst four countries in the world in gender parity with only Iraq, Yemen, and Afghanistan faring worse as the country slipped to 153rd out of the 156 countries assessed in a report published by the World Economic Forum (WEF) on Wednesday, saying that the gender gap in the country has widened by 0.7 percentage points to 55.6%.

Economic Participation and health

The Global Gender Gap Report 2021 stated that Pakistan featured among the bottom 10 countries in two of the four sub-indexes. The country was ranked 152nd in economic participation and opportunity and 153rd in health and survival. “Pakistan has closed just 31.6% of its economic participation and opportunity gap.”

The report said that only 22.6% of women participate in the labor force and even fewer are in managerial positions (4.9%). “This means that only 26.7% and 5.2%, respectively, of these gaps, have been closed so far, translating into very large income disparities between women and men,” it said and added that on average, a Pakistani woman’s income is 16.3% of a man’s.

Women access to justice

Data in the report showed that Pakistani women do not have equal access to justice, ownership of land, and non-financial assets or inheritance rights. However, it added that there are signs of improvement in the share of women who are in professional and technical roles (25.3%, up from 23.4% in the previous edition of the index).

Pakistan’s rank among South Asian Nations

Pakistan was ranked seventh among eight countries in the South Asian region with Afghanistan being the lowest. The report said that Pakistan’s progress has stagnated, saying that the estimated time to close the gender gap has now increased to 136.5 years.

Women access to education

In educational attainment, just an 81.1% gap has been closed, with gender gaps as large as 13% or more across all levels of education. “These gaps are the widest at lower education levels (84.1% primary enrolment gap closed) and are somewhat narrower for higher education levels (84.7% gap closed in secondary enrolment and 87.1% closed in tertiary enrolment).”

The report pointed out that only 46.5% of women are literate in Pakistan, 61.6% attend primary school, 34.2% attend high school and 8.3% are enrolled in tertiary education courses.

It said that the female literacy rates are as low as 53.7% in Afghanistan, 65.8% in India, 59.7% in Nepal, 57% in Bhutan, and 46.5% in Pakistan, with little sign of closing in the near future.

Also Read: Economic Dependency of Women in Pakistan

Country scorecard

The situation of women in politics

According to the report, Pakistan’s rank is relatively higher for Political Empowerment (98th), yet only 15.4% of this gap has been closed to date.

“With just 4.7 years (in the last 50) with a woman as head of state, Pakistan is one of the top 33 countries in the world on this indicator. However, women’s representation among parliamentarians (20.2%) and ministers (10.7%) remains low,” it said.

The report stated that the share of women ministers decreased from 23.1% to 9.1% in India. “Women remain acutely underrepresented in the political sphere in this (South Asian) region.”

South Asian region

The report stated that South Asia is the second-lowest performer on the index following the Middle East and North Africa, with 62.3% of its overall gender gap closed.

“In addition, progress has been too slow in the recent past, and this year has actually reversed. A decline of approximately 3 percentage points has resulted in a significant delay in the projected time needed for this region to close gender gaps, now estimated at 195.4 years.”

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