“We clawed our way into the revolution in this work place. Then we needed parity in pay, not yet there we are still fighting for that,” said PepsiCo CEO Indra Nooyi in an interview. Is it true that women are paid less than men simply for being women? There are many who claim that the gender pay gap is a myth and that statistics are manipulated to create a nonexistent disparity or that women are playing the victim card about unequal pay in the work place. So is the gender pay gap fact or myth?
The gender pay gap in India is among the worst in the world; with women earning 27% less than men for the same job. The gender pay gap is as high as 34.9% in the IT sector. Women aren’t given the ‘farmer’ status in India; hence are unable to take advantage of government schemes and benefits. Only 6% of women own land in rural areas, just 2% have credit access and a dismal 1% have agricultural training.
Indra Nooyi is right. The gender pay gap is real and it is a global phenomenon. Though government jobs are required to pay men and women equally, the same is not true for much of the private sector. Plus, there are cultural, educational, societal and other barriers to women being treated equally or paid equally in the work place.
Women in India face cultural barriers – in orthodox families, working women are frowned upon, and may be unable to work at all or have to leave their jobs once married. Women are still almost universally expected to be primary caregivers at home. Juggling work and home is typically taxing and demanding while many women are only able to work part-time; with the result that women are unable to devote time and energy to their career advancement.
There is also the problem of occupational segregation – women are often engaged in unorganized sectors where pay is lower; such as domestic servants, daily wagers at construction sites and so on. Indian women also face educational and training barriers since Indian families place greater emphasis on education of the male child. Hence even gifted girls miss out on learning and earning opportunities.
Then there is the problem of unpaid work – where women spend 2/3 of their work time in unpaid labour; men spend just ¼ of their time in unpaid labour. The work that women do at home – in childcare, cooking, cleaning, caring for the aged in the family – this is all unpaid work and is viewed as nothing more than the ‘duty’ of the woman of the house.
Those who like to say that the gender pay gap is a myth often proffer the excuse of physical dissimilarities between men and women to deny women their rights. They perpetuate the myth that women are weaker, have less stamina and are incapable of undertaking certain jobs; and that supposedly, is why they are paid less.
Reebok’s new video attempts to initiate a conversation around the gender pay gap issue. This is yet another in a series that explores issues that plague Indian women. After tackling the thorny issue about women’s safety with the #GirlsDon'tFight campaign, a new video touches on the difficult issue of gender pay gap; one that few people give voice to.
“The world will give you a raw deal,” says Kangana Ranaut. Watch to know how women can speak out against this workplace inequality and refuse to be shortchanged – literally and figuratively. If you have any similar stories you may have experienced or heard of, we would love to hear them in the comments below. You can also share on social media with the #FitToFight hashtag or write to us at [email protected].
-'This story is brought to you in association with Reebok'
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