North Indians’ on 26th October will be celebrating Karva Chauth. On this day, a wife keeps a fast for long life and good health of her husband. She wakes up before sunrise and has some food. She has to pass the whole day without food or water. The fast is broken by her husband giving her water and food after she sees the full moon. The festival is a way of demonstrating love and commitment in the marriage. Even working women follow this custom religiously, and though they come to office, they work while fasting.
Indian women are managing huge disparities in their roles as wife, mother and career women. The balancing act which they have to play leads to tremendous pressures. In this post, I am covering the scenario of women in India and world.
1. Gender Gap Report 2010 by World Economic Forum
The Gender Gap Report released recently showed that women across countries are way behind in economic participation and political empowerment. In 2010, India is ranked 112. In the India Gender Gap Review Report of 2009, India’s ranking was 114 out of 134 countries measured. In the Indian sub-continent Sri Lanka, in both the years was amongst the top 20 countries in the report. Nepal, Maldives and Bangladesh rankings are better than India.
This is despite the fact that India holds 4th position in the world for the number of years a female leader has held political power as head of government. Even presently, Indian President and National Head of ruling party Congress are women.
The reports indicate that there is a strong correlation between gender equality and level of competitiveness on the country. In the corporate world, enough emphasis is not being placed on brining in gender equality. If 50% of Indian population is unable to contribute effectively, India can give up its dream of becoming a powerful nation.
2. A global snapshot on The World’s Women – landmark UN report shows some improvement in the status of women, but still a long way to go ( Via The SheEO Blog)
Those of you interested in statistics and data will love this new UN report released this week in New York on the state of play for women around the globe. It’s not a quick read – at 284 pages!!!! – but includes a comprehensive review of that women and employment, health, education and all things in between, along with a fantastic array of graphs and tables that illustrate perfectly why we must remain focused on gender equality, all over the word. A snapshot of some of the report highlights include data showing:
- In today’s world there are 57 million more women than men – largely due to longer life expectancies of women: in all regions women live longer than men
- Women still comprise 52% of the labour market and over the past two decades women have entered various traditionally male-dominated occupations, however they are still rarely employed in jobs with status, power and authority. On average only 17% of parliamentary seats around the world are held by women, and remain significantly underrepresented on corporate boards and executive roles: of the 500 largest corporations in the world only 13 have a female CEO.
- There is a persistent pay gap everywhere and while the gender pay gap is closing slowing in some countries, it has remained unchanged in others.
- There is progress “albeit slow and uneven” in the literary status of women and men however women still make up two-thirds of the world’s 774 million adult illiterates – a proportion which is unchanged over the past 2 decades. The good news is that there have been positive global trends in primary enrollment particularly in developing nations. Secondary enrollments while on the increase, continue to lag behind primary education.
Click here to read the full article
3. Wake Up: We Need to Fix the Business Case for Women in Leadership (Via The Glass Hammer)
Fifteen percent. That’s how many women make up executive committees of American’s top companies. In Europe it’s only 7%. And in Asia – only 3%. That’s what 20-First revealed in this year’s WOMENOMICS 101 Survey.
And while these are all more than… say… zero percent, it’s nowhere near the 30% critical mass so many female leaders have called for, nor the company-specific gender balance approach advocated for by 20-First’s Founder and CEO Avivah Wittenberg-Cox.
Click here to read more.
Gentlemen, women across the world need your help and support. To make India a powerful nation, Indian men will need to do their extra bit to ensure Indian women walk shoulder to shoulder with them, and not behind them. I request Indian men on this Karva Chuath to support their wife in her wish to gain economic independence, political empowerment and a healthy life.