As we continue with our series on women centric issues and the problems they want to addressed, this is one aspect that is not just an India centric issue. Yes I am speaking on gender gap in paychecks. You might have heard the celebrities across Hollywood and Bollywood demanding for equal pay, sags about how the heroes consistently command a higher pay but surprisingly, this story remains the same even as the sets keep changing.
Be it the tennis fields or the godowns in a non-descript town, unequal payment and overall bias consistently interferes with women employees despite consistent and stable performance. According to some of the latest job sites in India, the gender gap has been as high as 54% in the 6 years between 2006-2011. India unfortunately also has the dubious distinction of being the only BRIC country with the lowest ranked gender pay parity score, lower than Brazil, Russia and China.
If it is any solace it is not a unique situation in India alone. World over we are witnessing the same situation. In the US, despite the Equal Pay Legislation, President Obama had to introduce another law, the Paycheck Fairness Act and even now on an average a woman earns mere 78 cents for every dollar a man earns. Not only does it mean unfair assessment of a woman’s merit abut also depriving the family of the important resources that could have been deployed in many ways.
The kind of bias that is responsible for this inequality is often the major worry. Without a proper assessment of a woman’s ability, many projects are often assumed to be out of reach for a woman or often the popular notion in many in India is that a woman would be incapable for performing a certain kind of job or a particular genre of job profile. This gender gap is particularly rampant in high salaried jobs ranging between Rs 10-50 lakhs. Age too plays an important role and we see that the possible gap between a man and woman keeps broadening with the woman’s age. What is particularly insulting is statement like ‘how a woman does not have to run a house, husbands are there to handle her expenses so she would not earn extra.
Perhaps it is high time that we brought an end to it and women started getting paid on merit!