UN releases The World’s Women 2015: Trends and Statistics Report

A report entitled The World’s Women 2015: Trends and Statistics was released by the Department of Economic and Social Affairs of the United Nations. The report provides an update of the statistics and indicators on the situation of women and men around the world covering gender-specific information on eight key areas-population and families, health, education, work, power and decision-making, violence against women, environment and poverty. Key findings of the report in eight key areas:
1. Health: Life expectancy the past 20 years has risen for both sexes—reaching 72 years for women and 68 years for men in 2010–2015. The gender gap tends to widen as life expectancy increases. Men are at a higher risk than women of the same age of dying from cardiovascular disease, but more women than men die from the disease since
they tend to live longer.
2. Environment : About half of population in developing regions lack access to improved drinking water on the
premises; and the burden of water collection falls mostly on women. The number of deaths from diarrhoea due to
inadequate water, sanitation and hygiene in developing regions was 0.8 million in 2012;the majority of such deaths in some parts of Asia were among women and girls.
3. Power and decision-making : The number of female Heads of State or Government reached 19 in 2015, only
seven more than in 1995. Around 30 per cent of electoral candidates in lower or single houses of parliament are women. The glass ceiling appears to be most impenetrable in the world’s largest corporations; less than 4 per cent of Chief Executive Officers (CEOs) are women and the gender composition of executive boards of private companies is far from parity.

4. Violence against women : Women across the world, regardless of income, age or education, are subject to physical, sexual, psychological and economic violence. At least 119 countries have passed laws on domestic violence, 125 have laws on sexual harassment and 52 have laws on marital rape.
5. Population and Families : There are about 62 million more men than women worldwide. In younger age groups, men outnumber women; in older age groups, women outnumber men. Child marriage has declined; still, almost half of women aged 20 to 24 in Southern Asia and two fifths in sub-Saharan Africa marry before age 18. Adolescent birth rates declined almost everywhere but are still high in many African and Latin American and Caribbean countries.
6. Poverty : On average 1 in 3 married women in developing countries have no say about major household purchases, and 1 in 10 are not consulted on how their own cash earnings are spent. Globally, 47 per cent of women have an individual or joint account at a formal financial institution compared to 55 per cent of men.
7. Education : Despite progress, only one in two children in developing regions receive pre-primary education compared to nine in 10 in developed regions. An estimated 58 million children of primary school age—31 million of whom aregirls—are out of school. Nearly two thirds of the world’s 781 million illiterate adults are women, and almost all of them live in developing regions.
8. Work : Globally, about three quarters of men and half of women participate in the labour force; the gender gap in
participation has narrowed in only some regions and remains widest in Northern Africa, Western Asia and Southern Asia. Vulnerable employment—that is, ownaccount and contributing family work—constitutes half of women’s and
men’s employment globally, but is most common in Africa and Asia, especially among women. Women earn less than men across all sectors and occupations, with women working full-time earning between 70 and 90 per cent of what men earn in most countries.
About the Report: The report is based on eight critical areas of policy concern as identified by the Beijing Declaration and Platform for Action that was adopted by the UN Fourth World Conference on Women in 1995. The
Beijing Declaration seeks to promote and protect the full enjoyment of all human rights and the fundamental freedoms of all women throughout their life cycle.

Women could boost GDP by $700 bn

If 68 million more women are added to the non-farm labour force over the next decade, India’s gross domestic product (GDP) could be boosted by $700 billion in 2025, according to a new country-specific study by the McKinsey Global Institute (MGI). The report takes forward an earlier MGI report on the impact on global GDP if women were to participate on par with men in the paid workforce.
The second report finds that women in India represent only 24% of the paid labour force, as against a global average of 40%. At 17%, women’s contribution to GDP in India is also below the global average of 37%. Not only are countries like China (at 41%) doing better, even Sub-Saharan Africa is at 39%. “India’s economy would have the highest
relative boost among all regions of the world if its women participated in paid work in the market economy on a similar basis to men, erasing the current gaps in labour-force participation rates, hours worked and representation within each sector,” states the report, The Power of
Parity: Advancing Women’s Equality in India.T he latest MGI report uses a new score, the India Female Empowerment Index, or Femdex, to understand where each state stands on gender parity. Based on
the subset of 10 indicators (pertaining to gender equality in work and in society, in terms of essential services and enablers of economic opportunity, legal protection and political voice, and physical security and autonomy), Mizoram, Kerala, Meghalaya, Goa and Sikkim come closest to gender parity.
Bihar, Madhya Pradesh, Assam, Jharkhand and Uttar Pradesh are the bottom five states. However, the top five
states account for just 4% of India’s female working-age population, while the bottom five makes up 32%. State-level female labour force participation rates range from 63% in Himachal Pradesh to 9% in Bihar (which means that except for these 9% who have jobs of any kind that pay a wage either low or high, the rest do only domestic or
other unpaid work).
To boost the economy, the report states that 70% of the potential incremental workers could specifically come from nine states: Andhra Pradesh, Gujarat, Karnataka, Maharashtra, Madhya Pradesh, Tamil Nadu, Telangana, Uttar
Pradesh and West Bengal. India’s female labour force participation rate (based on data for the population aged 15 and above) is 21% in urban areas and 36% in rural areas. For men, it is 76% and 81%, respectively. Indian women face inequality on all five indicators related to work:
labour force participation rate, professional and technical jobs, unpaid care work,wage gap and leadership positions. The NationalSample Survey Office (NSSO)’s wage data by occupation for India appears to support this trend. Regardless of their professional status, women on average get paid 30% less than their male counterparts, the report states.

Government decides to impose a Swachh Bharat Cess at the rate of 0.5% on all services

Swachh Bharat Cess is not another tax but a step towards involving each and every citizen in making contribution to Swachh Bharat. In this direction, the Government has decided to impose a Swachh Brarat Cess at the rate of 0.5% on all services, which are presently liable to service tax. This will translate into a tax of 50 paisa only on every one hundred rupees worth of taxable services.
The proceeds from this cess will be exclusively used for Swachh Bharat initiatives. In the General Budget, 2015-16, a provision was made for levying a Swachh Bharat Cess on all or any of the services, for the purposes of financing and promoting Swachh Bharat initiatives or for any other purpose relating thereto.

Health Ministry opens AMRIT outlet at AIIMS

With the aim to reduce the expenditure incurred by patients on treatment of cancer and heart diseases, the Ministry of Health & Family Welfare opened the Affordable Medicines and Reliable Implants for Treatment (AMRIT) outlet at AIIMs. The retail outlet will sell drugs for the two ailments at highly discounted rates at the All India Institute of Medical Sciences (AIIMS). The AMRIT pharmacy would be selling 202 cancer and 186 cardio-vascular drugs, and 148 types of cardiac implants at very affordable prices.
Patients can buy medicines and implants at 50 to 60 percent cheaper prices than the open market from AMRIT outlet in AIIMS. The project has been floated in a tie-up with government-owned HLL Lifecare Ltd (HLL) which is deputed to establish and run the AMRIT chain of pharmacies across the country. The government’s move comes amid statistics that peg Indians diagnosed with cancer at 700,000 every year. About 2.8 million people have cancer at any point of time and half a million die of the disease each year.
The annual figure of women being diagnosed with breast cancer in India is 145,000, according to the World Health Organisation. A significant number of patients (nearly over 50 per cent) stop visiting hospitals after two or three
cycles of chemotherapy due to unaffordable costs.

No Bar on Collegium system

SC has said there will be no bar on the collegium system for working for appointing judges for higher judiciary. The
latter has many large scale vacancies. SC will not interfere with the collegium system. The SC recently quashed the
NJAC/National Judicial Appointments Commission Act aimed at replacing the collegium system for the appointment of judges to higher judiciary.

MHRD directs UGC to continue Non NET fellowship

MHRD has reiterated that Central Government has instructed the UGC to continue non NET fellowships and formed
a committee under G. Barua, former IIT Guwahati director to examine this issue. Mandate of the committee is to
ensure benefits of non NET fellowships reach larger number of universities. MHRD has also said that the aim is to expand such fellowships rather than discontinuing them.