The Global Gender Gap report, ranking Iceland and Afghanistan as the best performing and the worst performing countries, respectively, compels a reader to draw a parallel on how this ranking impacts the countries’ performance in other areas. Increased females’ participation in all spheres, on equal footing with their male counterparts, has paid the top-ranking countries considerable dividends in many areas. The top 5 countries in the report have consistently performed excellently in the Human Development Index (HDI), which ranks countries on life expectancy, educational attainment, and financial status of citizens. Besides, the countries are on an upward trajectory in terms of GDP growth.

A microscopic look at Iceland’s ranking reveals that aggressive implementation of the parliament laws towards gender parity has resulted in this landmark achievement. The country’s law mandates that women be given a 40% share in leadership positions in public and private spheres and are granted equal rights across all domains. Besides, kids are taught gender equality from early schooling and asked to demonstrate parity in all curricular and extracurricular activities.

In contrast, Afghanistan’s situation is grim partly due to women’s exclusion from all domains. The worst five ranked countries, including Afghanistan, occupy the lowest slots in the HDI ranking. The country’s economy has almost collapsed. The females, constituting around 50 per cent of the population, are heavily guarded to ensure they are confined within four walls of their homes. Opposed to it, Bangladesh is ranked as the best country for women in the South Asian Region, with females’ constituting 80 per cent of the workforce in the textile sector alone. Besides, the country’s GDP growth stands at 7 per cent, mainly due to increased female participation in the economic sphere.

Thus, it is evident that increased female involvement across all spheres is essential for a country’s economic, educational, and healthcare prosperity.

ASAD AZIZ,

Khushab.