Lok Sabha TV- Public Forum: Exploring Gender Pay Gap
A few surveys conducted by Monster India and Accenture in the last few days present a very dismal picture of presence of women and their growth in workplaces. It showed that women earn 25% less than men for the same job. While it shows that women hardly get their dues in terms of their salaries as compared to their male counterparts, it also suggests that the presence of a glass ceiling is a mental block to inhibit her progress. The average gender pay gap of 38.2% is one of the widest observed gaps in this Report. The salary divide is the most stark in the manufacturing and information technology sectors. The survey also found that males are given a higher number of career promotion opportunities as compared to their female colleagues.
Another survey named Getting to Equal 2017 conducted by Accenture shows that the disparity in the country is much higher than the global average of 40% across industries and that the pay gap will not decrease until 2018 in developed markets and may take more than a century and a half to bridge the gap in developing markets including India. While these surveys hint at the inequalities at corporate workplace, the wage discrimination in the bottom end of the wage distribution cycle where women workforce are concentrated is much alarming. Presently, some 120 million women in India i.e. around 95% of women in paid work are engaged in informal sector which grapples with a lot of issues. A huge percentage of work done by women is not even counted in national statistics. According to the United Nations, this figure is more than 50% in India.
- Preference for male employees over female employees
- Preference for promoting male employees to higher positions
- Career breaks taken by women due to socio-cultural issues, marriage or pregnancy and parenthood duties.
- In rural areas, women are given lighter work deliberately in agriculture or other sectors thus making them eligible for low payments.
- Due to lack of transparency in salaries in private sector, many women are unaware of salaries which they should actually get. In Government sector jobs, this disparity is much less because people working on same posts are entitled for same compensation.
- 22% decline in female labour participation rate in India: UN Report
- India is among bottom five countries with a gender pay gap of over 30% : ILO
- Average gender pay gap in the manufacturing sector stood at 29.9%
- 8% pay gap in the information technology sector
- Average gender pay gap of 14.7% in education and research sector, 27.5% in legal and market consultancy sector and 22.6% in healthcare and social work sector.
- India was ranked 108th on the annual Global Gender Gap Index 2015 and 87th in World Economic Forum Gender Gap Report 2016.
- Private companies and corporate sector must have salary audits.
- Enforcement of Equal Wages Act should be done in letter and spirit.
- Women need to come out and they must advocate for themselves in this regard.
- Adequate intervention from Government to ensure equality of pay to both men and women for the same work. Strong labour market institutions and policies such as collective bargaining and minimum wages lowered the pay gap.
- Digital fluency and a planned career strategy might help women to close the pay gap.
Women seek guidance from stakeholders including their family to aim high and make informed choices. Many women do not explicitly demand a raise. They need to be coached and mentored to speak up for their rights.