Equal Rights include Equal Pay

by | May 23, 2016 | Inclusion Matters | 3 comments

Last month, during I Inspire – an inclusive leadership conference, I met some senior HR Heads and women leaders. Over lunch, we debated if gender pay gaps existed in India. To my surprise, everyone said that gender pay gaps don’t exist. They argued that in the organized sector: experience, skills and education dictate terms and not gender.


However, in our experience, of working in the space of Diversity Hiring & Consulting, we found that the opposite, gender pay gaps were rampant.This was validated by the recently published Research – Monster Salary Index (a joint initiative of Monster India, Paycheck.in with IIM Ahmedabad as a Research partner)

The report observes that gender continues to play a significant role in determining the wage on the Indian labour market. On average, men earn `288.7 per hour whereas female colleagues earn just `215.5, i.e. 25.4% less than men in the sample. The lowest gender pay gap of 17.7% was recorded in the banking, financial services & insurance (BFSI) and transport sectors, the report said, adding that at the other end of the spectrum was the manufacturing sector with a pay gap of 34.9%. The surprising element was in IT/ITes Sector the gap was 34%.

Some reasons (as explained by the report )behind this gender pay gap could be preference for male employees over female employees, preference for promotion of male employees to supervisory positions, career breaks of women due to parenthood duties, and other socio-cultural factors.

“In large progressive multinationals the gap is definitely reducing. Also, even if women start at the same level as men, a gap tends to get created over time because women lose out at times of increments and promotions because of the perceptions that women need it less than men. Women also tend to negotiate less often because they value loyalty.” rues Gagan Singh, CEO JLL Business India & Sri Lanka.

This negative perception for women being paid less is visible everywhere. Robin Wright, Hollywood Actress (alias Claire Underwood, House of Cards) recently refused to tolerate this discrimination, fought to be paid just as much as her House of Cards co-star Kevin Spacey.

“I think many women still think of their salary as the second supplementary income and hence don\’t negotiate hard enough\” says Apurva Purohit, President Jagran Group

So what might work to close the gap? Social scientists and policy makers have been working on this, as do companies that have been trying to combat the problem in their work forces. The Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation recently committed $80m (£55m) to help plug the gaps in data on women and girls that is needed to meet the UN target of achieving gender equality by 2030.

Its time for global institutions, policy makers, and organisations to come together & take acions to close the gender pay gap. This will result in not only boosting productivity for the economy, a more balanced distribution of wealth but also host of other socio economic benefits.

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