"very large income disparities between women and men."
When it comes to gender parity, Pakistan ranks among the worst countries in the world.
In a report published by the World Economic Forum (WEF), the country slipped to 153rd out of the 156 countries assessed.
The report found that Pakistan’s gender gap had widened by 0.7 percentage points to 55.6%. Only Iraq, Yemen and Afghanistan fared worse.
It placed the country at 152 in economic participation and opportunity, 144 in educational attainment, 153 in health and survival, and 98 in political empowerment.
The report also stated that only 22.6% of women are in the labour sector while just 4.9% are in managerial positions.
It stated: “This means that only 26.7% and 5.2%, respectively, of these gaps have been closed so far, translating into very large income disparities between women and men.
It added on average, a Pakistani woman’s income is 16.3% of a man’s.
In South Asia, Pakistan is ranked seventh out of eight countries, Afghanistan being the lowest.
The report explained that “progress has stagnated”, stating that the estimated time to close the gender gap has now increased to 136.5 years.
It noted that the Covid-19 pandemic may have widened the existing gender gap.
In educational attainment, an 81.1% gap has been closed, with gender gaps as large as 13% or more across all education levels.
“These gaps are the widest at lower education levels (84.1% primary enrolment gap closed) and are somewhat narrower for higher education levels (84.7% gap closed in secondary enrolment and 87.1% closed in tertiary enrolment).”
Only 46.5% of women are literate in Pakistan.
It also found 61.6% attend primary school, 34.2% attend high school and 8.3% are enrolled in tertiary education courses.
Pakistan has closed 94.4% of its health and survival gender gap.
This has been negatively impacted by the wide sex ratio at birth (92%) due to gender-based sex-selective practices, with 85% of women suffering intimate partner violence.
For Political Empowerment, Pakistan’s rank is relatively higher, but only 15.4% of the gap has been closed to date.
It said: “With just 4.7 years (in the last 50) with a woman as head of state, Pakistan is one of the top 33 countries in the world on this indicator.
“However, women’s representation among parliamentarians (20.2%) and ministers (10.7%) remains low.”
South Asia is the second-lowest performer on the index. Only the Middle East and North Africa fared worse.
The report said:
“In addition, progress has been too slow in the recent past, and this year has actually reversed.”
“A decline of approximately 3 percentage points has resulted in a significant delay in the projected time needed for this region to close gender gaps, now estimated at 195.4 years.”
Bangladesh is the best-performing country while India is the third-worst in the region.
Only 22.3% of Indian women and 38.4% of Bangladeshi women are active in the labour market.”On average in the region, the women’s labour force participation rate is 51% of the male labour force participation rate.”
The regional average share of professional and technical roles taken by women is 32.6%.
“In India, only 29.2% of technical roles are held by women, and in Pakistan the share is 25.3% and in Afghanistan 19.3%.”
In India, the report revealed that women ministers decreased from 23.1% to 9.1%.
“Women remain acutely underrepresented in the political sphere in this (South Asian) region.”
Female literacy rates are as low as 53.7% in Afghanistan, 65.8% in India, 59.7% in Nepal, 57% in Bhutan and 46.5% in Pakistan, with little sign of closing in the near future.
“The hope of closing educational gender gaps lies with the younger generation, but not everywhere.
“While in five of the seven countries in the region at least 98% of the gender gap in primary enrolment has been closed, in Pakistan and Nepal only 84.1% and 87%, respectively, has been closed.”