Women & Men in India 2020 (A compilation of Gender related Indicators in India)


This report compiles socio-economic statistical indicators on men and women in India. It was published in March 2021 by the Social Statistics Division at the National Statistical Office (NSO), Ministry of Statistics and Programme Implementation, government of India. In compiling government data across sectors, the report aims to contribute to a better understanding of gender differences in the country, and help in the formulation of comprehensive policies facilitating gender equality.

This 174-page document is divided into seven chapters: Population and related Statistics (Chapter 1); Health (Chapter 2); Literacy and Education (Chapter 3); Participation in Economy (Chapter 4); Participation in Decision Making (Chapter 5); Empediments in Empowerment (Chapter 6); Minimum Set of Gender Indicators (Chapter 7).


  1. India’s projected population in 2021 is 136.13 crore with a female population of 66.24 crore (48.65 per cent) – according to the 2020 report Population Projections for India and States 2011-2036 by the National Commission on Population. The projected sex ratio for 2021 is likely to increase from 943 females per 1,000 males in 2011, to 948 females in 2021.

  2. Between 2001 and 2011, the maximum increase in the sex ratio among states has been recorded in Delhi (5.7 per cent), Chandigarh (5.3 per cent) and Arunachal Pradesh (five per cent) – according to Census 2011.

  3. In 2018, the average age at which women in India got married was 22.3 years – up by 0.2 years since 2017. Women’s mean age at marriage in rural areas was 21.8 years, 0.1 years more than it was in 2017. At 23.4 years, it had increased by 0.3 years in urban areas.

  4. The report defines ‘total fertility rate’ (TFR) as the average number of children expected to be born per woman during her entire reproductive period. According to government data from 2018, the TFR for the literate population in India – all persons aged seven years and above who can read and write with understanding – was 2.3 children in rural areas and 1.7 in urban areas.

  5. The maternal mortality ratio (MMR) defined as the “number of women who die as a result of complications of pregnancy or childbearing in a given year per 100,000 live births in that year” declined from 212 in 2007-09, to 113 in 2016-18. In this period, the MMR reduced by 175 deaths in Assam, 162 in Uttar Pradesh, 154 in Rajasthan, 112 in Bihar and 108 in Odisha.

  6. The nationwide literacy rate increased from 73 per cent in 2011 to 77.7 per cent in 2017 – with the female literacy rate rising from 53.7 per cent in 2001 to 64.6 per cent in 2011.

  7. The literacy rate of men in India is significantly higher than that of women. As per the Census 2011, the rate was 80.9 per cent for men and 64.6 per cent for women.

  8. NSS data from 2017- 2018 shows that, among urban areas, the highest gender gap in literacy rates is found in Bihar (20.2 percentage points) and Rajasthan (16.5 percentage points). In rural areas, Rajasthan has the highest gender gap in literacy rates (25 percentage points) followed by Uttar Pradesh (20.1 percentage points) and Bihar (19.9 percentage points).

  9. At the nationwide level, the states of Rajasthan (23.2), Bihar (19.2) and Uttar Pradesh (18.4) have the highest difference in the literacy rates between men and women.

  10. As low as 8.3 per cent of the females aged 15 and above had successfully completed schooling at the graduation level, while 12.8 per cent of males had completed the same stage.

  11. The NSO’s report Periodic Labour Force Survey 2018-2019 reveals that the worker population ratio in rural areas was 19 per cent for females and 52.1 per cent for males. (The ratio is defined as the percentage of employed persons in the population.) In urban areas, this rate stood at 14.5 per cent for females and 52.7 for males.

  12. NSO data from 2019 shows that females spent an average of 134 minutes in a day on unpaid caregiving services for household members, while males spent only 76 minutes per day on similar activities.

  13. The representation of women in the Union Council of Ministers declined from 12.16 per cent in 2018, to 10.53 per cent in 2019, to 9.26 per cent in 2020.

  14. A total of 78 women members – constituting 14 per cent of the total members of the Parliament – were elected for the 17th Lok Sabha in the year 2019. This rate was the highest since independence.

  15. According to 2019 data from the National Crime Records Bureau, offences like cruelty by husband and relatives, assault on women with intent to outrage modesty, and kidnapping and abduction, accounted for 31 per cent, 22 per cent and 18 per cent of the total crimes against women.

    Focus and factoids by Kanak Rajadhyaksha.

    PARI Library's health archive project is part of an initiative supported by the Azim Premji University to develop a free-access repository of health-related reports relevant to rural India.


Social Statistics Division, National Statistical Office, Ministry of Statistics and Programme Implementation, Government of India, New Delhi


Social Statistics Division, National Statistical Office, Ministry of Statistics and Programme Implementation, Government of India, New Delhi


Mar, 2021