Equality Prospects in China and India

We hear much in the financial press of the growing economic power of India and China. Its true if you just measure GDP and growth that these two huge countries are among the fastest developing nations in the world. However in many senses they are well behind in the sort of social structures that are essential for equal rights. In both these countries there are minorities which continue to suffer compared to those benefiting from the economic boom. Women in both countries face different challenges due to overriding social issues like religion and cultural expectations.

The steadily rising rate of financial Growth in India has been around 8% annually, and there is much speculation about if and once India could catch up with and exceed China’s over 10 percent growth rate. Irrespective of the evident excitement this subject appears to cause at India and abroad, it is surely rather ridiculous to be obsessed with India’s overtaking China in the speed of growth of GNP, although not comparing India with China in different respects, such as education, basic health, or life expectancy. Financial growth may, clearly, be hugely helpful in improving living standards and in combating poverty.

But there is hardly any reason behind carrying the development of GNP to become an end in itself, instead of seeing it as an essential means for attaining things we value. It might, nevertheless, be asked why this distinction needs to make much difference, since financial growth does improve our capacity to improve living standards. The central point to appreciate here’s that while monetary growth is essential for improving living conditions, its impact and reach depend considerably on what we do with the greater income. The connection between monetary growth and the progress of living standards depends upon lots of factors, including social and economic inequality and, no less importantly, on what the government will with the public revenue that’s generated by monetary growth.

How much will all this wealth help impact women’s lives is difficult to say.  In some senses both are largely male dominated societies although for very different reasons.  We do have some insight into the Indian culture in the UK as there is a large Indian population in many major UK cities.  However it’s difficult to compare with the women who live on the Asian continent. The happy, shiny world of Bollywood which can be found on some UK TV channels abroad (example here – http://uktvabroad.org/ ) – this is not always that representative of real life.

Some statistics with China and India, drawn mainly from the World Bank and the UN, are relevant here. Life expectancy at birth at China is 73.5 years, in India it’s 64.4 years. The infant mortality speed is fifty per thousand in India, compared with all only seventeen in China, the mortality speed for kids under five is sixty six per thousand for Indians and nineteen for the Chinese, and the maternal mortality speed is 230 per 100, 000 live births in India and 30 eight in China. The mean years of schooling at India were estimated to be 4.4 years, compared with 7.5 years in China.

China’s adult literacy speed is 94 percent, compared with all Indias 74 percent in accordance with the preliminary tables of the 2011 census. As a consequence Of Indias effort to boost the schooling of women, its literacy rate for females between ages 15 and twenty four has obviously risen, but that speed is still not a lot of above 80 percent, while in China it’s 99 percent. Among the serious failure of India Is a very substantial proportion of Indian kids are, to varying degrees, undernourished, compared with a small proportion in China. Only 66 percent of Indian kids are immunized with triple vaccine, as opposed to 97 percent at China. Comparing India with China based on such standards may be more useful for political discussions in India than limiting the contrast to GNP growth rates only.

Further Reading:

BBC News and Economic Data – http://bbciplayerabroad.co.uk/bbc-iplayer-vpn-not-working/