Let’s start from the West, according to the Shriver Report released in 2014, women’s average annual paychecks reflected only 77 cents for every $1.00 earned by men. For women of color, the gap is even wider: In comparison to a white, non-Hispanic man’s dollar, African American women earn only 64 cents and Latinas just 55 cents.
In 1963, when the Equal Pay Act was passed, full-time working women were paid 59 cents on average for every dollar paid to men. This means it took 44 years for the wage gap to close just 18 cents—a rate of less than half a penny a year. This narrowing of the gap has slowed substantially since the turn of the century.
What about in India ? Women are paid the most unequally in India, compared to men, when it comes to hourly wages for labour. On average, women are paid 34 per cent less than men, a recent report by the International Labour Organization (ILO) projected. This gap in wages, known as the gender wage gap, is the highest among 73 countries studied in the report.
The trend holds true globally as well, but with lower levels of inequality among the sexes, where on average, hourly wages of women are 16 per cent less than those of men. Inequality is higher in monthly wages, with a gap of 22 per cent.
While India fared better in terms of wage equality for similar work indicators, on which it held the 72nd position, it ranked 142nd in the economic opportunity and participation sub-index. This dichotomy can be explained by the difference between unequal pay and the gender pay gap. Unequal pay refers to situations where women are paid less than men for doing the same work whereas while the gender pay gap is essentially the average difference between the remuneration received by working men and women, there is more nuanced here.
In advanced economies (G20), real wage growth declined from 0.9 per cent in 2016 to 0.4 per cent in 2017, meaning near stagnation. By contrast, in emerging economies and developing G20 countries, real wage growth dipped marginally from 4.9 per cent in 2016 and 4.3 per cent in 2017.
In a country like ours, the reasons for gender pay gap are a little more complicated and can be linked to reasons ranging from the socio economic to the structural. Girl children are sometimes kept out of schools or made to drop out of school early. Even if they are educated, many women are not allowed to work by their families. Women who do join the workforce often need to take extended leaves for maternity and child care, and even the healthcare of other family members. All these factors lead up to women as a whole falling well behind men when it comes to their earnings over time. But the question is – is this a problem or an excuse for unequal pay? Well–there lies the debate.
In India, therefore, the gender pay gap is still quite wide. According to the Monster Salary Index (MSI) published in March 2019, women in the country earn 19% less than men. The survey revealed that the median gross hourly salary for men in India in 2018 was Rs 242.49, while it is Rs 196.3 for women, meaning men earned Rs 46.19 more than women.
According to the survey, the gender pay gap spans across key industries. IT services showed a sharp pay gap of 26% in favour of men, while in the manufacturing sector, men earn 24% more than women. However, this is only part of the picture.
I know if seen from the desk of a person who needs the cash to flow non-stop, man will be preferred for most but trust me–that is just an excuse to feed your monetary thirst. Ask me why equal pays are required ? Well–you don’t get promotion in active service because of how big your muscles are but how big your guts are. Women are not just less than an army officer defending a country–they are working beyond just what you see in your office.
The writer is an International Awardee and also a major in International Business Marketing from Algonquin, Ottawa, Canada. He is also the Managing Director & Chief Marketing Officer of Khoihee Industries, regd. under the directorate of industries and commerce, Government of Manipur. He can be reached at [email protected]
his motivational videos on YouTube at Live With Bir