Bangladesh tops South Asia in gender parity achievement: WEF report


Bangladesh has ranked first in South Asia in achieving gender parity, according to the latest Global Gender Gap Report 2023 by the World Economic Forum (WEF), reports UNB.

With a score of 72.2 per cent, Bangladesh ranks 59th globally, indicating significant progress in achieving gender parity. Women across the country experienced a rise in overall gender parity this year, as reflected in a higher score and index ranking compared to 2022.

Bangladesh ranked 71st globally in 2022 with a gender parity score of 71.4 per cent.

The Global Gender Gap Index annually benchmarks the current state and evolution of gender parity across four key dimensions: economic participation and opportunity, educational attainment, health and survival, and political empowerment.

The level of progress toward gender parity (the parity score) for each indicator is calculated as the ratio of the value of each indicator for women to the value for men. A parity score of 1 indicates full parity.

In South Asia, Bangladesh continues to top the chart, followed by Bhutan (68.2 per cent), Sri Lanka (66.3 per cent), Nepal (65.9 per cent), Maldives (64.9 per cent), India (64.3 per cent), Pakistan (57.5 per cent), and Afghanistan (40.5 per cent).

Bangladesh has made notable progress in the field of political empowerment, ranking seventh worldwide and achieving a gender parity rate of 55.2 per cent. The country has had a woman as head of state for 29.3 years out of the last 50 years, the longest duration in the world.

However, the report shows the shares of women in ministerial (10 per cent) and parliamentary positions (20.9 per cent) in Bangladesh are relatively low.

In terms of health and survival, Bangladesh achieved a parity rate of 96.2 per cent due to higher parity in sex ratios at birth. However, gender parity has been dropping in terms of healthy life expectancy as men’s life expectancy has been increasing faster than that of women since the 2020 edition.

Bangladesh demonstrated higher parity in education as well, with a gender parity rate of 93.6 per cent.

The report states that both women and men’s literacy rates and enrollment in secondary and tertiary education have been steadily increasing over the last decade.

"While there is now full parity in enrollment in secondary education, there remains a persistent gap for literacy rates and enrollment in tertiary education," the report states.

Bangladesh’s performance in terms of economic participation and opportunity remains one of the lowest globally. According to the latest report, Bangladesh ranks 139 globally, with a parity rate of only 43.8 per cent.

The Global Gender Gap Report 2023 also highlights the gender parity status of South Asia as a region. With a parity rate of 63.4 per cent, South Asia ranks 7th out of 8 regions.

The score has risen by 1.1 percentage points since the last edition based on the constant sample of countries covered since 2006, which can be partially attributed to the rise in scores of populous countries such as India, Pakistan, and Bangladesh.

According to the report, it will take 149 years to achieve full parity in this region at the current rate of progress.

Meanwhile, India has scored a parity rate of 64.3 per cent, ranking 127th on the global index. Although the country has improved by 1.4 percentage points and eight positions since the last edition, it lags far behind Bangladesh in achieving gender parity in terms of economic participation and opportunity (36.7 per cent) and political empowerment (25.3 per cent).