Women paid 34% less than men for same tasks
The report, Mind The Gap-State of Employment in India, said that women on an average are paid 34 per cent less than similarly qualified male workers for performing same tasks.
Based on the National Sample Survey Office (2011-12) estimates, in nominal terms, women earning a regular salary were paid, on an average, ₹105 and ₹123 less than male workers daily in urban and rural settings, respectively; the corresponding figures for casual workers were ₹72 and ₹47 for urban and rural workers.
Amitabh Behar, CEO of Oxfam India, felt that despite the rhetoric of job creation and ensuring gender justice, the reality is sobering on the ground. The report draws particular attention to women being left out of the economic growth narrative.
“It shows that women’s participation is low due to decline in rural jobs, transforming urban areas, unequal pay, the burden of unpaid care work, and the continuing prevalence of regressive social norms. This is a consequence of poor policy choices and lack of investment in social security and infrastructure,” he said.
According to the report, in 2015, 92 per cent of women and 82 per cent of men were earning a monthly wage less than ₹10,000, far below the 7th Central Pay Commission’s recommendation of minimum salary of ₹18,000 a month.
“If unpaid care and household activities are included in the NSSO’s definition of work, the Female Labour Force Participation Rate (FLFPR) in 2011-12 rises from 20.5 per cent to 81.7 per cent, more than that of men,” it said.
There is no major divergence in urban FLFPR in terms of religion; it is similar in terms of caste but occupational segregation exists with Muslim women concentrated in household manufacturing, Schedule Caste (SCs) in construction and services such as waste collection while non-SCs more likely to work in education and health services. Urban women’s work is sectorally concentrated — 10 industries make up over half of female employment; education sector accounts for over 1 in 7 urban women workers.
Nearly half (49.5 per cent) of married women workers work in the same industry where their husbands work. There are more women workers in Southern and North-Eastern States, but still below international standards. According to Behar, there is a need to overcome the gender blindness to create a gender-just society, and to ensure equal and dignified opportunities for all.
“The formal social security system in India is accessible to only a small percentage of workers and this access is extremely inequitable across sex, social group, religion, and economic class, mirroring labour market outcomes. This inequality can be addressed both through appropriate labour policy instruments and by an expansion of social security among uncovered workers,” he said.
To bridge the gap, the report sets some recommendations. It talks about shifting development focus towards labour-intensive sectors to create more jobs. Growth in jobs must be inclusive and new jobs need to be secure with better work conditions, including social security benefits and the right to organise.
Substantially, higher investments in health and education are required to improve productivity.
Source : The Hindu Business Line