India has ranked 95th out of 129 countries in the new Sustainable Development Goals Gender Index.


  • The Sustainable Development Goals Gender Index has been developed by ‘Equal Measures 2030’, it measures global gender equality looking at aspects such as poverty, health, education, literacy, political representation and equality at the workplace.
  • It includes 51 indicators across 14 of the 17 official Sustainable Development Goals and covers 129 countries across all regions of the world.
  • The overall index scores are based on a scale of 0–100, where a score of 100 indicates the achievement of gender equality in relation to the underlying indicators.
  • A score of 50 would indicate that a country is about halfway to meet its goal.


  • The index finds that no country has fully achieved the promise of gender equality and that the global average score of 65.7 out of 100 is “poor”.
  • Almost 1.4 billion (or 40 percent), of the world’s women and girls, live in countries failing on gender equality and another 1.4 billion live in countries that barely pass.
  • The United States ranked 28th out of 129 countries, and a major reason why it scored lower than neighboring countries like Canada, which ranked fifth, is due to “poor performance on indicators related to poverty, women’s participation in the economy, and inequality.”
  • Only 21 economies achieved marks of 80 or above than 80, with the top country, Denmark, achieving 89.3.
  • India’s neighboring countries performed better, China ranked 74th & scored 64.7 points while Sri Lanka ranked 80th with 62.1 points.
  • Denmark, Finland, Sweden, Norway, Netherlands, Slovenia, Germany, Canada, Ireland, and Australia rank as the top 10 countries in the index, while the bottom 10 comprises Sierra Leone, Liberia, Nigeria, Mali, Mauritania, Niger, Yemen, Congo, DR Congo, and Chad.
  • Asia-Pacific: Australia ranked the highest in Asia and the Pacific region group while Japan ranked the third highest in the group with achieving 21st rank.
  • Not all countries’ scores on the index correlate with national income some countries perform better than would be expected based on their GDP per capita, and others underperform.


  • India has scored 56.2, which means that it is among 43 countries that fall in the ‘very poor’ category.
  • India scores the highest in health (79.9), followed by hunger (76.2) and energy (71.8).
  • Among the SDGs, on which the country performs poorly are partnerships (18.3), industry, infrastructure and innovation (38.1) and climate (43.4).
  • Some of the factors based on which the ranking of India has been decided include:
    • The proportion of seats held by women in national parliaments (score of 23.6, 16th in the region, women made up 11.8 percent of parliament in 2018)
    • The extent to which a national budget is broken down by factors such as gender, age, income, or region (score of 0.0, tied for worst in the region)
    • Percentage of seats held by women on a country’s Supreme Court or highest court (score of 18.2, 4th worst in the region).
  • India ranks toward the bottom of Asia and the Pacific region, ranking 17th out of the 23 Asia and the Pacific countries.


Access to Education:

  • Access to education and higher studies to girls, despite provisions for universal education policies, also performed poorly.
  • Amongst the 15-24-year-old age groups in 2012, 49 percent of girls were not in employment education or training compared to 8 percent of boys.

Literacy Rate:

  • The figures indicate that despite achieving 95.3 in scores for the percentage of female students attending primary education indicator, the literacy rate among adult woman (aged 15+ years) was only 59.3 points.

Women’s Labour Force:

  • In India, women’s labor force participation is one of the lowest in the world. India’s women participation is 27 percent, the lowest among BRICS countries and among G20 countries.
  • Women comprise half of the Indian population but make up less than a quarter of the labor force.
  • 3 in four Indian women do not work in the country.

Women Participation in Parliament:

  • In India, the female representation in Parliament is quite low. In the new government, female representation is at 14.3 percent, the highest since independence.


  • This showed that gender-based socio-cultural factors have hindered girl’s abilities and rights in completing secondary education and harmed their chances in competing in the competitive labor market.


  • Equal Measures 2030’ is a partnership among global and regional organizations from the civil society and the development and private sectors.
  • It includes The African Women’s Development and Communication Network, Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation, International Women’s Health Coalition and Plan International.


Billions of women and girls are living in an unsafe world, which demonstrates how far the world has yet to go in achieving gender equality. The world is failing to deliver on the promises of gender equality for literally billions of girls and women. The index paints a challenging picture where women and girls are experiencing additional disadvantages in terms of age, ethnic or religious identity, sexual orientation and gender identity, immigration status and other intersecting factors. The alarming report is a “wake-up call to the world”.

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