Equal pay for women - Fair pay, Fair play!

  • 3 min read

 Women earn 77 cents for every dollar men earn for work of equal value

 At this rate, it will take the next 257 years to close the global gender pay gap

 Women are concentrated in lower-paid, lower-skill work with greater job insecurity and under-represented in decision-making roles

 Women carry out at least two and a half times more unpaid household and care work than men

Recently, a female friend of mine was asked about her marital status and family planning during an interview. Look at the audacity of the interviewer from a multi-national company! What does the marital status of a woman have to do with her competence to get the job? The gender gap is deep rooted in our systems that persists across time, place and culture. There have been arguments that the gender inequalities have been gradually decreasing. But at this rate, it will take us 257 years to close the global gender pay gap.

A paycheck holds a different meaning for every woman. A paycheck may mean a sense of empowerment, satisfaction or simple joy. And unequal pay demonstrates the obvious injustice prevailing in our society which leads the women and their families to entrenched poverty and career gaps. If a job requires a certain amount of effort and skills, a woman is generally is paid less than the man even though she can commit the same amount of effort and has the right set of skills. And sadly, this inequality persists across all the sectors. Women’s work is under valued and they take up different jobs. Apart from the motherhood penalty, gender stereotypes have pushed away women from taking jobs dominated by men. Eventually, women end up taking so called unskilled/soft-skilled jobs which are generally low paying jobs.

Globally, women only make 77 cents for every dollar earned by men. And for the working mothers, immigrant women and women of color, the gap widens. Gender inequality, gender gap in employment and gender pay inequality are spanning across all industries. This persistent inequality is seen across all the countries in the world. The gap is more in the developing countries than the developed countries. What can the nations do for reducing the gender pay inequality some day?

“If you educate a man, you educate an individual. But if you educate a woman, you educate a nation”. The least any nation can do is to encourage the women of its nation and come up with policies to make the women to be educated and empowered. This is the need of the hour in countries where they do not have equal access to education. Not every girl can be a Malala Yousafzai. We all know the gallant efforts of Malala who defied the Taliban doctrine to continue her education.

The nations need to take drastic steps to curb the gender-biased violence and help/protect the victims. New Zealand had set a splendid example couple of years back in granting the victims of domestic violence ten days’ paid leave which will allow them to be able to leave their partners, protect themselves and their children, and seek out new housing.

Another transformational step towards awareness and questioning the inequality is global activism by the women. Not just the women feminists, many men have been part of the process that raises the vital question through global campaigns. The LGBTQ movement or the #MeToo campaign have successfully influenced millions to raise their voices against the discrimination prevailing since decades.

As the world celebrated the first International Equal Pay Day on 18th Sept this year, what are you going to do as an individual to nullify the gender pay inequality?

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Consultant at Infosys
A stardust soul spreading some sparkles around
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