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Women have played a central role in society since the beginning of time, and the fight for their rights has been a long drawn battle. Many strides have been made to empower women and put them on an equal footing with men. Laws and regulations have been amended to protect their rights, give them equal opportunities. But has equality really been achieved?

This Women’s Day we reflect on progress made over the years, and how we are faring on the goals established to measure this success. This piece focuses on SDG 5 – Gender Equality and where we stand today in our attempts to achieve gender equality.

First, some facts about gender equations in the current scenario:

  • In India, only 65.14% women are literate as compared to 82.14 % men
  • Women only hold 11 % seats in the Lok Sabha, but 46% in Panchayati Raj institutions.
  • Population of Women is 48.5 %, but only 27.4% women are in workforce
  • Child Sex Ratio is 919 for 1,000 boys
  • 1 in 3 women have experienced some form of physical or sexual violence in their lifetime

Sustainable Development Goal 5 concerns gender equality and has been defined by United Nations as a goal to “achieve gender equality and empower all women and girls”. As women continue to face discrimination in various forms, this SDG calls for establishing this fundamental human right and eliminating all forms of discrimination against women in the public and private spheres. This is viewed as a necessary foundation for peaceful and sustainable society

How Are We Faring on This Goal?

Over the last decade, while India’s GDP has grown by around 6%, there has been a decline in female labor force participation from 34% to 27%, while male-female wage gap has been stagnant at 50%. Research reflects that crimes against women have shown an upward trend, raising doubts whether we really are nearing what we set out to achieve.

Despite rapid economic growth, the momentum to achieve women’s political participation, equality in business, achieving equal pay and rights for women have not grown at the same pace. Women continue to suffer from violence, sexual harassment, and discriminatory labor practices.

As per a report titled ‘The power of parity: How advancing women’s equality can add $12 trillion to global growth’, establishes the link between gender inequality and GDP and draws focus towards the fact why addressing gender gaps is important.

While a regressive social construct is detrimental to achieving sustainable growth, taking a closer look at the impact of the gender factor on growth could push us forward to realizing the necessity of achieving equality. Weaving a stable and peaceful social fabric must involve approaching gender parity as a priority.

Significance of Women’s Day

Women’s Day is celebrated on 8th March each year. The roots of this movement lie in the labor movement and the first Women’s Day was organized by early 20th century Marxist from Germany.

The theme for this year’s International Women’s Day (8 March) this year is “Choose To Challenge”, which indicates that a “challenged world is an alert world” and “from challenge comes change”. It seeks to spread awareness about the importance of choice. The day is also significant to make people aware of women’s rights, safety and gender equality.

About The Author

Srishti Tiku

Srishti is a graduate in Behavioral Economic Science from University of Warwick, UK, and is passionate about using her knowledge to decipher sustainability challenges through research and analysis. As Economics attempts to explain the processes that shape lives and livelihoods, Srishti finds it fascinating to learn about emerging patterns while wading her way through issues engulfing people, planet and profit. When she is not at desk, she loves to read and watch movies.

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