Nepalese gender equality is below South Asia’s average, says watchdog organization

In terms of gender equity Nepal is in a worst condition than its neighbour China, although better than India, and above the South Asian average, which is already the lowest among all regions in the whole world.

This is made apparent by the publication of the Gender Equity Index (GEI) 2012, published by Social Watch on the eve of Women’s International Day, March 8.

The index prepared annually by Social Watch measures the gap between women and men in education, the economy and political empowerment. The index is an average of the inequalities in the three dimensions. In literacy, it examines the gender gap in enrolment at all levels; economic participation computes the gaps in income and employment; empowerment measures the gaps in highly qualified jobs, parliament and senior executive positions.

The best and worst 15 countries in the GEI 2012

Social Watch measures the gap between women and men, not their wellbeing. Thus, a country in which young men and women have equal access to the university receives a value of 100 on this particular indicator. In the same fashion, a country in which boys and girls are equally barred from completing primary education would also be awarded a value of 100. This does not mean that the quality of education in both cases is the same. It just establishes that, in both cases girls are not less educated than boys.

Nepal’s 47 points rank it among those countries with VERY LOW GEI, although eight points above the South Asian average, which stands at 39. Nepal’s giant neighbours `present very different gaps: while China has 64 points while India a dismal 37.

The region is led by Maldives (63 points), Sri Lanka (62) and Bangladesh (55). The countries in worse condition are India (37 points), Pakistan (29), and Afghanistan (15), the latter being the country in the bottom position among the 154 computed by the GEI. The South Asian GEI average is the lowest of all regions.

The five levels according to which the index measures the gender gap are: CRITICAL, VERY LOW, LOW, MEDIUM AND ACCEPTABLE. It should be noted that no country has reached 90 points or more, meaning that no country has yet reached the ACCEPTABLE level.

Nepal reaches a LOW value in education and economic participation (65 and 56 points respectively) and a CRITICAL value in empowerment (21).

At a world level, the countries that have achieved a better score are Norway (89), Finland (88), and Iceland (87), which places them as countries with a MEDIUM GEI. 

Out of the 154 countries computed by the 2012 GEI those five in the worst global situation are Congo Rep (29), Niger (26), Tchad (25), Yemen (24) and Afghanistan (15).

Social Watch members are spread across all regions. The network fights for the eradication of poverty and its causes, the elimination of all forms of discrimination and racism and to ensure an equitable distribution of wealth and the realization of human rights.

For a detailed description of methodology and sources see