Believe it or not, when it comes to gender equality, India fares worse than Pakistan. In fact, the country ranks lower than all other countries in South Asia, save Afghanistan. These are the findings of the 2010 Human Development Report released by the United Nations Development Programme on Thursday as per its Gender Inequality Index.
So while Pakistan might have become a hotbed for international women’s activism, it certainly seems to know how to take care of its mothers. On maternal mortality, India - with its abysmal record - trails Pakistan.
Reproductive health is the largest contributor to the inequality index, followed by other indicators such as women’s participation in the labour force, level of empowerment based on educational attainment and parliamentary representation.
On maternal mortality, the figure for Pakistan is 320 deaths per 100,000 live births. In India, the figure stands at 450. The country also falters on adolescent fertility rate - births among women aged 15-19. The adolescent fertility rate in India is 68 births per 1,000 live births as compared to 45 births per 1,000 live births in Pakistan.
No Country For Mothers
• Maternal mortality in India is 450 deaths per 100,000 live births; the figure for Pakistan is 320
• On adolescent fertility, India shows 69 births per 1,000 women aged 15-19; Pakistan fares better at 45
• Lone silver lining is on women’s participation in the labour force, which is 36% for India, while in Pak it is 23%
• Even on parliamentary participation, India fares worse than Pakistan, Nepal, Bangladesh, even Rwanda
Overall, India ranks 122, Pak 116, Bangladesh 112