Thursday, July 25, 2024

Closing the Gender Gap this Women’s Day

Although the report says Nepal is ahead on closing the gender gap the reality is far from truth, this Women's day let us look into the truth,

Gender equality is a global priority, but progress is slow. According to the World Economic Forum’s 2023 study, achieving full equality will take another 131 years worldwide. This women’s day, let us look into closing the gender gap data and reality in our society.

According to the research, Nepal’s overall score exceeds the regional average observed in South Asia. When it comes to implementing laws and regulations supporting women’s economic opportunities. In South Asia, Nepal achieved the highest score in narrowing the gender gap between men and women. This seems refreshing, but in reality, big companies still don’t pay equals and deny maternity leave.

Gender Exploitation

Men take advantage of projects designed to help women become self-sustaining. During the Covid pandemic, when the government gave collateral-free loans through banks for women, hundreds of fraudulent businesses grew up across the country. Despite being registered under women’s names, the majority of these enterprises were actually run by men. During the pandemic-induced economic crisis in the fiscal year 2020-21, the number of new firms, primarily micro, cottage, and small-scale enterprises, soared to 83,386, according to Department of Industry figures. This was a significant rise over the 48,854 new firms registered in the previous fiscal year, 2019-20.

Women holding sign
Women in question.

Insiders identify systemic issues that contribute to this situation. In Nepal, there is a trend of widespread company registration, especially when government grants are apparent. Many of these newly established companies are fronts set up by men in the name of women-owned businesses to take advantage of available benefits.

Advocate Mamta Shiwakoti refers to the numerous layers of deception that women suffer in such situations. Many constitutional provisions that protect women’s rights, such as labor rights, equal pay, property rights, and reproductive health rights, are not enforced.

For example, while the legislation allows citizenship to be secured through the mother, this provision has not been completely implemented. Furthermore, pay gaps exist, and maternity leave regulations are poorly enforced. Shiwakoti highlights the divide between progressive legislation and its practical application in Nepalese society.

Furthermore, Nepal has a considerable gender wage gap, causing economic inequality for women.

Data Insights

The National Statistics Office released an analytical analysis on Women in Business in 2021, indicating a link between gender, income, and employment sectors. The survey states that the share of women workers is higher in sectors with lower monthly wages and lower in sectors with higher incomes. For example, women account for 58% of the workforce in sectors with monthly wages less than Rs7,600 but just 12.2% in sectors with monthly incomes greater than Rs25,000.

The survey also reveals significant wage differences between male and female employees, particularly in professional positions.

The survey also reveals significant wage differences between male and female employees, particularly in professional positions. In this group, for example, a male worker earns Rs23,800 a month, while a female worker earns only Rs12,000. Even in managerial roles, where skill is required, the pay gap remains. For example, while male managers earn Rs32,000 per month, female managers earn an average of Rs25,500.

lack of gender gap
Women with women being women.

While the pay gap has narrowed significantly in categories like as technologists and joined professionals. With monthly earnings of Rs24,000 for males and Rs22,500 for women, gaps remain. Similarly, in industries such as agriculture, forestry, and fisheries, male workers earn much more than their female counterparts, with monthly wages of Rs12,167 vs. 11,406 for women.

Ahead of time

The World Bank just announced the tenth edition of its Women, Business, and Law Index, which gave Nepal an 80.6 out of 100. This index, which covers 190 economies, examines several elements of a woman’s life and profession.

The index evaluates how women interact with the law using eight indicators. Mobility, workplace, pay, marriage, parenthood, entrepreneurship, assets, and pension. Nepal’s total score is higher than the South Asian region’s average of 63.7. Notably, Nepal leads the South Asian area in closing gender inequalities in opportunities and outcomes, outperforming Bhutan (75), India (74.4), the Maldives (73.8), Sri Lanka (65.6), Pakistan (58.8), Bangladesh (49.4), and Afghanistan (31.9).

However, the research notes the global gender gap in legal rights between men and women. Despite progress, no country is close to full gender equality across all measurable indices. Even the top-scoring economy in the survey falls short of a perfect score of 100.

In terms of legal framework, Nepal leads South Asia with a score of 62.5, closely followed by India at 60. This emphasizes the necessity of ongoing work to reform legal rights and laws to advance gender equality in Nepal and elsewhere.

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