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Why is there such a Gender Pay Gap in India? And what can we really do about it? Here’s taking a closer look.
The recent reports on the Gender Pay Gap in India are no surprise. While anecdotal evidence on this has always been around but now there are some hard figures as well. As per a report by Korn Ferry, the gap is very less or negligible at the same level in the same company but collectively the gap is as high as 16.1 % in India which is equivalent to the global figure.
The surprise factor is that India seems to be doing better than some developed countries like U.K. and U.S.
Source: Korn Ferry Global Gender Pay Index 2018
The key reasons for the Gender Pay Gap are:
In order to reduce the Gender Pay Gap in India, we need to ensure more women enter the workforce, continue working through different life stages and reach senior or leadership levels. More women need to be encouraged to take up careers which are high paying. While doing a Gender audit on company level Compensation may help to keep the issue of Gender Pay Gap in our radar, it would require a multi-dimensional effort on hiring, retention and development of women.
Gender Pay Gap may not always be a direct outcome of discrimination but it is important to understand the discrimination inherent in our society and therefore, our workplace to understand the Gender pay Gap. For example, there is a strong bias in the industry while hiring women who have been on a career break for childcare. There is a bias in giving challenging opportunities to women at the workplace. At times, women may also hesitate in demanding quality work, promotion or higher salary increases, and this is because the ‘second job’ of household work does not allow them space to do so.
Our workplaces are a microcosm of our society and so the ills that plague our society will be prevalent at the workplace too. If we are living in a highly patriarchal society, our workplaces will be replete with patriarchy. If our society expects women to always play second fiddle, the same forces will manifest at the workplace too. The tags of an MNC or an Indian organization make little difference in this regard.
There are many factors that contribute to Gender Pay Gap. One significant one is the cumulative set of life events and experiences that a woman undergoes right from her birth. These often put her in a rather disadvantageous position in life with respect to her career or simply take away some of her ‘power’. If we want to understand why gender pay gap exists in a holistic manner, we need to wear a wider lens and look beyond what happens in organizations. I have tried to represent this through an illustration.
Life of a woman : Understanding Causes of Gender Pay Gap
The various causes are divided into Environmental/ Cultural factors, Socio-Economic Factors and Personal Choices. The last one is heavily influenced by the first two. Most women would experience at least some, if not all of the factors mentioned above. It would also be an over-simplification to assume that these are only present in low income or underprivileged families. Many of these factors have been observed across socio-economic classes.
If one were to focus and write on each of these, an entire book can be written. However, I would like to focus here on women who have somehow managed to circumnavigate these potential landmines and have managed to create a career for themselves.
A focus on the following may be important for flourishing in their chosen career.
The Gender Pay Gap is a complex phenomenon. Efforts need to be made at all levels by different institutions (Corporates, Government, NGOs etc.) and individuals to reduce the gender pay gap. We are now talking about it at least and that’s a good start.
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An HR professional by qualification, have worked for close to 10 years now across Pharma
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