By Oxfam India
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5 Facts You Need Know About Gender Pay Gap In India

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Imagine you and your colleague do exactly the same work but you get paid lesser than him, just because you happen to be a woman. Are you shaking your head and thinking that can’t happen? Well, it does happen.

Gender pay gap is the difference between men’s and women’s average wages. A vast gender pay gap still exists in India and around the world.

In this post, we highlight 5 facts you need to know about the gender pay gap in India.

5. 95% of the Indian female workforce works in the informal economy

120 million women workers in India work informally, says a UN report from 2016. Being in the informal sector not only pays less but also makes women extremely vulnerable, with inadequate pay and no social security benefits.

A report brought out by McKinsey Global Institute (MGI) in 2016 has estimated that Indian women’s contribution of 17% towards the GDP is the lowest amongst all regions in the world, as compared to the global average of 37%. However, their realcontribution is very substantial in the areas of agriculture, traditional occupations and household work. Unfortunately, there is no way to account for it.

The MGI report argues that Indian women’s low contribution to GDP contradicts the huge amount of unpaid care work they do.

4. As a woman advances in her career, gender pay gap increases too

In a society like ours, we believe that higher education and experience are a guaranteed way to get a bigger salary. That’s far from reality though.

A Wage Indicator Report published in 2013 proves that the gender pay gap increases with age. Women below 30 years earned 23.07% less than men and the ones above 30-40 years earned 30.24% less, states the report.

You might be shocked to find out that this gap grows wider for women who’re highly qualified. Women who’ve not finished high school get 9.37% less than their male counterparts and the ones who have degrees like CA/CS/ICWA earn 44.25% lesser than males.

3. Women form 63% of the lowest paid labour but only 15% of the highest paid workers

India performs very poorly when it comes to gender wage disparity, confirms a recent report by ILO. The report studied wage inequality in the workplace on a global level. Although many nations have laws demanding equal treatment of men and women at work, gender wage gap exists worldwide. Only the degree of the gap varies from one country to another.

In India, women constitute more than 60% of the lowest paid workers and yet they get a mere 15% of highest-paid jobs, says the report. This proves that the wage disparity exists in the topmost jobs. What’s even more disturbing is that the gender pay gap is even wider at the bottom and it affects poor women the most.

Despite these worrying statistics, there’s some hope. The report also mentions that the average wage for women in India has grown by 60% in the last 10 years.

2. India ranks 136th worldwide in women’s economic participation

India has a dismal score when it comes to giving women financial freedom and economic opportunities. India stands 136th in the area of women’s economic participation (being among the bottom 10 countries) and 86th in the overall gender gap, as mentioned in a WEF report from 2016.

This highlights that gender inequality is not just restricted to women’s incomes but also affects all aspects of their life – whether its education, health or political participation.

1. Gender pay gap in corporate India stands at 27%

Article 39 of the Indian constitution states that men and women are entitled to equal pay for equal work. However, the reality in the Indian formal sector is quite the contrary.

The Monster Salary Index (MSI) released in 2016 by the employment website Monster India showed that the gender pay gap in India is 27%. MSI’s analysis (based on data gathered between 2013 and 2015) points out that men get a median gross hourly salary of Rs. 288.68, whereas women get a lesser amount of Rs. 207.85 per hour.

Sounds unfair?

Well, the IT services sector disappoints even more with its pay gap of 34% and manufacturing sector is the worst with the maximum gap of 34.9%.

You may find these facts about gender pay gap in India startling, but they’re real, which means wage disparity can’t be ignored. Our only hope lies in making gender equality our topmost agenda.