India improves position to 105th on global gender gap index
New Delhi: India has moved up 8 points to 105th position in the global Gender Gap Index of 135 countries for 2012, from 113th position in the previous year, according to the World Economic Forum.
The index, which examines the gap between men and women on the basis of economic participation and opportunities; educational attainment; health and survival, and political empowerment is topped by Iceland, followed by Finland, Norway, Sweden and Ireland.
Neighbouring China, though slipped in its ranking to 61st, is way ahead of India.
India has fared better than countries like Pakistan, Nepal, Yemen, Saudi Arabia, the United Arab Emirates, Egypt and Turkey among others.
About India, the report said the country has performed above average on the political empowerment of women but lags behind in the other three categories.
"There is also some evidence from India to suggest that women in local government roles make decisions with better outcomes for communities than men when charged with budget decisions.
"... They also appear to be more competent representatives than men, obtaining more resources for their constituencies despite having significantly lower education and relevant labour market experience," the report said.
The WEF said that persistent health, education and economic participation gaps would be detrimental to India's growth.
Among other countries in the top 10 are -- New Zealand, Denmark, the Philippines, Nicaragua and Switzerland.
Notably, the US has bagged the 22nd place in the list, a decline from last year's 17th place.
The report said that 32 countries have closed the gap in health and survival, while 20 countries have fully closed the gap in the educational attainment.
However, no country has closed the economic participation gap or the political empowerment gap.