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Women Want Change Society Needs Change


The 17th iteration of the Global Gender Gap Report, released by the World Economic Forum on June 20, 2023, draws on data from 146 countries, stressing on global gender inequality.


GS2- Politics

Mains Question:

Drawing from the Global Gender Gap Report by World Economic Forum, analyse the status of gender equality in politics. (10 marks, 150 words).

More on the report:

  • The report’s findings suggest that, given the current pace of progress, it will take 131 years to eliminate the global gender gap.
  • In densely populated South Asian countries, including India, this timeframe extends to 149 years.
  • The report emphasizes the efficacy of reservations as a form of affirmative action, asserting that equity is the initial stride toward equality.
  • Dismissing reservations based on claims of inefficiency or incompetence is considered an excuse for denying marginalized groups access to restricted spaces.
  • The viewpoint maintained is that women are not inferior to men, and any perceived incompetencies are temporary, dissipating once opportunities for skill development are provided.
  • The argument against reservations often posits that they may compromise competence. However, statistics indicate that women outperform men in academics, with higher graduation rates and greater workforce entry. Despite this, the representation of women in leadership positions declines, not due to incompetence but rather due to male hegemony.

Women and Politics:

  • The Women’s Reservation Bill, a landmark legislation, gained approval in September 2023, signifying a fresh beginning for Indian aspirations.
  • The delay in passing this bill underscores the minimal role women have played in shaping India’s political landscape, despite the early adoption of universal adult suffrage by the country’s founding fathers.
  • The global scenario reflects a trend of decreasing ages of political leaders.
  • Question, however arises whether an ordinary Indian woman can aspire to become the Prime Minister at the age of 37, akin to leaders like Jacinda Ardern of New Zealand.
  • There is still a societal reluctance to accept ambitious women in leadership roles, exemplified by the case of Hillary Clinton losing to Donald Trump despite superior political experience.
  • The discussion delves into historical evidence, asserting that women in leadership roles often got there due to circumstances favoring men, political convenience, or specific agendas.
  • Privileged women in leadership are criticized for not being supportive of the less fortunate, perpetuating misconceptions about their own paths to leadership.


The regressive views on gender equality held by both men and women act as a significant obstacle. Even progressive men oppose women’s participation in general seats. There is hence a need for the Women’s Reservation Bill’s prompt implementation, that can urge a correction of historical injustices for a more equitable society.

December 2023