Bangladesh in the Global Gender Gap Index 2020

The first line of the report’s overview begins with a pessimistic statement: ‘None of us will see gender parity in our lifetimes, nor likely will many of our children.’ The Global Gender Gap Report 2020 reveals that gender parity will not be obtained for the next 99.5 years, which is almost a century. 

The Global Gender Gap index included in this report will serve as a compass to track progress on relative gaps between women and men on health, education and politics. This will act as a yardstick to help stakeholders in each country to set priorities relevant in each specific economic, political and cultural context. The purpose of the report is to contribute to shaping mindsets and catalysing action towards the achievement of gender equality. This index has measured the extent of gender based gaps among four key dimensions- Economic Participation and Opportunity, Educational Attainment, Health and Survival, and Political Empowerment.

Bangladesh is placed at 50 out of 153 countries with a score of 72.6%. Last year, Bangladesh was placed at 47. This is the third consecutive year Bangladesh is ranked first among South Asian countries in the index. 

The ranking of Bangladesh according to the subindex are as follows:

  1. Economic Participation and Opportunity: 141
  2. Educational Attainment: 120
  3. Health and Survival: 119
  4. Political Empowerment: 7

The report quotes, ‘Bangladesh (overall score 72.6%) is the only one of the seven South Asian countries studied to feature in the top 100 of the index. India ranks 112th (66.8%) and Pakistan (56.4%). According to the report, one of the primary reasons why Bangladesh made it to the top among South Asian countries was because it had a female head of state in the past 50 years. ‘Bangladesh is the only country in the world where that number exceeds the number of years with a male head of state,’ the report further states. 

Bangladesh’s position in the index does not present an overall picture as this is a result of the average sub index score. The category of ‘Political Empowerment’ has helped push the country to a higher rank. It must not be ignored that Bangladesh is placed below 100 in the other three categories. There is a huge space to strengthen basic rights for women and to improve their social and economic prospects. The Prime Minister, opposition and speaker are women, yet there is only 8% of women in the cabinet and only 20% in the parliament. 38% of women are part of the labour force in the economic sphere as compared to men, which is 84%. Also, the estimated average income of women is 40% that of men. 

The top 5 countries in the list are: Iceland, Norway, Finland, Sweden and Nicaragua. 

The bottom 5 countries are: Chad, DR Congo, Guinea, Yemen and Benin. 

In South Asia, Bangladesh is followed by Nepal, Sri Lanka, India, Maldives, Bhutan and Pakistan respectively. 

Global Gender Gap Report 2020

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