‘Low-income states struggle with gender empowerment’


New Delhi : Gender development and empowerment indices have not improved in India particularly in low-income states, said a report by the women and child development ministry released Sunday.

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The report – Gendering Human Development Indices: Recasting the Gender Development Index and Gender Empowerment Measure for India – is an initiative of the ministry in association with the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) compiled by the Indian Institute of Public Administration here.

Senior ministry officials, including secretary Kiran Chadha, released the report summary at a function at Siri Fort Auditorium to celebrate International Women’s Day.

Officials said the report reflects the existence of sharp disparities in gender empowerment.

“The consistently low scores on all three dimensions of indices in many low-income states reiterate that the central and concerned state governments must pay attention to improving access of women and men to health, education, infrastructure and income earning opportunities to reduce poverty and multi-dimensional deprivation in these states as the gap between them and the high HDI (Human Development Index) and GDI (Gender Development Index) states is wide,” the report said.

The HDI and GDI based on health, education and income indicators have improved from 0.584 and 0.568 in 1996 to 0.648 and 0.633 in 2006, the report said.

Chandigarh faired the best on both indices – with HDI of 0.801 and GDI of 0.781.

Kerala slipped from the first position in 1996 to now being ranked second on the HDI index and third on the GDI index in 2006. Bihar is ranked the lowest in all thirty-five states and union territories.

The report finds that Gender Empowerment Measure (GEM) based on political, economic participation and power over economic resources in India has improved marginally by 0.042 – from 0.413 in 1996 to 0.451 in 2006.

Andhra Pradesh with 0.509 GEM is the highest score in the 2006 GEM index, according to the report. This is quite an improvement from the rank 14 it held in 1996.

Goa and Haryana also follow close on heels with a GEM of above 0.5 each.

Delhi that faired along similar lines in 1996 with a score of 0.511 lagged behind in 2006 with GEM of 0.487, the report said.

The GEM scores of states like Nagaland, Mizoram, Lakshadweep and Jammu and Kashmir were recorded at the lower end of the spectrum.