Gender Gap


The Global Gender Gap Index 2022 has not come up with a phenomenally surprising finding as far as the inequality row in Pakistan is concerned. The country is still hovering at the bottom of the list. Only Chad fares worse.
That Democratic Republic of Congo has managed to climb a notch above us despite being plagued by constant in-fighting is, however, a horrifying tale on its own. Some glad tidings do manage to crawl our way as the report does acknowledge “significant improvement” in empowering girls and women, may it be by encouraging greater economic participation or shattering glass ceilings for employment opportunities.
But even after closing 56.4 per cent of the disparities, Pakistan still stands to lose out on most of the gains offered by a larger, diversified workforce. Because while the demoralising assessment of “progress (being) stagnated” is behind us, we do suffer from the smallest share of women sitting on powerful tables all over the world.
That means an overwhelming majority of key decisions (from legislation to company policies) are deliberated and passed by men, which in turn dictate the path to be trodden upon by millions of women in times to come. Add to that the rather unbelievable wins of just one-and-a-half decades ago when Pakistan had come 112th in the examination of the economic and societal position of its women and the gravity of its ill-advised priorities hangs a lot heavier.
Comparing the notable contribution by female professionals in other parts of our neighbourhood (Nepal and Bangladesh), the state should pull up its sleeves and get down to assessing why only 22 per cent of its women form a part of its labour force.
Is it because the country has still miles to go before the riches of education manage to touch young girls or due to societal stumbling blocks that actively pursue subjugation of women in the name of culture? These tiny mirrors can give out far more details about the inequality faultlines than just sighing out a list of numbers if someone is willing to change the future. *