India has been ranked 108th in World Economic Forum (WEF) gender gap index, same as 2017, while recording improvement in wage equality for similar work and fully closing its tertiary education gender gap for the first time.
As per the WEF's Global Gender Gap Report 2018, released Tuesday, while India has many challenges as it ranks 142nd out of 149 countries in the economic opportunity and participation subindex, it also has a few achievements.
Gender gap was measured across four key pillars -- economic opportunity, political empowerment, educational attainment, and health and survival. "It (India) needs to make improvements across the board, from women's participation to getting more women into senior and professional roles," WEF said.
WEF also noted that India continues to rank third-lowest in the world on health and survival, remaining the world's least-improved country on this subindex over the past decade. "In fact, India actually widens the gender gap on this subindex this year."
However, on the positive side, India has slightly improved in WEF's wage equality for similar work indicator, where it stood at 72nd place. The country has also closed its tertiary education enrolment gap for the first time in 2018 and has managed to keep its primary and secondary gaps closed for the third year running.
Interestingly, India has the second-largest artificial intelligence (AI) workforce but one of the largest AI gender gaps, with only 22 per cent of roles filled by women.
According to the report, the world has closed 68 per cent of its gender gap and at the current rate of change, it will take 108 years to close the overall gender gap and 202 years to bring about parity in the workplace.
South Asia was the second-lowest ranking region in the index, with only 65 per cent of its gender gap now closed. India is slightly ahead of the regional average having closed 66 per cent.
The global list was topped by Iceland having closed more than 85.8 per cent of its overall gender gap. Iceland holds the top spot in the index for the 10th consecutive year.
Nordic countries Norway (2nd, 83.5 per cent), Sweden (3rd, 82.2 per cent), and Finland (4th, 82.1 per cent) dominated the top slots.
Other countries in the top-10 include Nicaragua (5th, 80.9 per cent), Rwanda (6th, 80.4 per cent), New Zealand (7th, 80.1 per cent), the Philippines (8th, 79.9 per cent), Ireland (9th, 79.6 per cent) and Namibia (10th, 78.9 per cent).
"The economies that will succeed in the fourth industrial revolution will be those that are best able to harness all their available talent.
"Proactive measures that support gender parity and social inclusion and address historical imbalances are therefore essential for the health of the global economy as well as for the good of society as a whole," said Klaus Schwab, founder and executive chairman of the WEF.