In 2015, Fergusson College in Pune introduced a third gender column for prospective students trying their luck at enrolling in the prestigious institution. In the same year, Panjab University, too, implemented a third gender column on its admission forms. The university took it up a notch by building a transgender-friendly toilet. In similar and uplifting news, the Martyr Tukaram Omnle Park near Goregaon, Mumbai is now home to a newly-constructed public toilet, exclusively built for the transgender community. Steps like these are not only necessary but a nod towards a more inclusive and cohesive India. But are we able to address the ever widening gender pay gap in India?
Gender pay gap in the workplace
In October 2022, the Board of Control for Cricket (BCCI) announced equal match fees for both female and male players. While a positive step to uplift women and their contributions, it is no secret that the gender pay gap in India is one of the highest in the world.
The World Economic Forum’s Gender Report 2021 highlights that only 22.3% of women are active contributors in the labour market and the gender gap stands at a staggering 72%. When it comes to closing the wage gap in similar positions, Iceland ranked 1st by bridging the gap by 86%. On the other hand, India has only been able to close the gap by 46-49%.
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On average, women in India make 20% less than men
Economic equality can also bring about social equality. Yet, it seems we are only regressing in our attempt to achieve it. While workplaces in India are taking active measures to bridge the pay gap, the pandemic had other plans for us–the past few years affected women and their economic ascent more than it did for men.
A major chunk of household responsibilities, including that of looking after children almost naturally fell on women–even on those who held full-time jobs. This also meant that they were expected to care for the elderly while running a household, and many had to forego their careers in the process.
The pandemic contributed to widening the already existing gender pay gap. A lack of experience, educational qualifications, and a skills gap are critical reasons why women make lesser than men do, but the number one reason still is gender or sex-based discrimination.
Fixing the divide
A FlexJobs survey shows that 60% of women said they would look for a job elsewhere if they weren’t granted the option to continue working from home, while 52% of men said they would quit. While considering a new job, 80% of women said that a remote work option is something they would keep an eye out for. Both seem to agree on one thing–69% men and 65% women said that remote work policies would improve gender equality in the workplace.
When moving higher up the rung, more and more women find that there aren’t enough opportunities for them and often have to deal with belittling microaggressions, even by juniors. Leadership and management teams must now implement policies that give women a fair chance for a more diverse and equal workforce.
- The third gender, now an option for UoP applicants | The Times of India | April 06, 2015
- Panjab University introduces separate toilet for transgenders: let’s look at why they need it | YourStory | May 29, 2017
- Mumbai: ‘First exclusive transgender toilet an inclusive move’ | The Times of India | March 28, 2022
- Explained: India’s women cricketers to receive same match fee as men | The Times of India | October 27, 2022
- Global Gender Gap Report 2021 | World Economic Forum | March 30, 2021
- Global Wage Report 2020-21 | Internal Labour Organization
- The gender pay gap, hard truths and actions needed | UN Women | September 19, 2022
- Survey: Men & Women Experience Remote Work Differently | FlexJobs
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