A few weeks ago a colleague at work beautifully explained ‘Inclusion’. She said that there are two facets to it- one is to promote equity (and not equality) i.e fair treatment and the second is to promote the sense of belonging i.e you feel accepted for who you are. Diversity and Inclusion are listed today as one of the top priorities of any organization. It is amazing that so many companies a...
It was Equal Pay Day on 24th March that represents the raising awareness about the gender pay gap. In India, the awareness is still at a low level, because we are dealing with pressing issues like women education and employment. But on an international map, the day was a symbolic gesture of bridging the pay gap between genders.
Every country puts different formulas to mark the day hence, different countries have different days dedicated to speaking up about equal pay. The United Nations first celebrated Equal Pay Day on September 18, 2020. They estimate that women earn 23 percent less than men globally.
Now what does it mean in Indian context?
According to the Gender Gap Index in 2020, India has slipped to the 112th position from the previous 108th in 2018. According to the report, it will take India close to 100 years to bridge the gap in areas of politics, economy, health, and education. It ranks 149th in economic participation and opportunity, and 117th in wage equality for similar work.
The report also says, Since 2006, the gap has gotten significantly wider. Among the 153 countries studied, India is the only country where the economic gender gap is larger than the political gender gap.
‘’A survey by Monster.com reported that nearly 60% of working women in India face discrimination at work and over one-third of women believe that they are not easily considered for top management roles. Out of the women who were surveyed, nearly 86% of women consider safety as a factor while choosing a job and nearly 50% of them find the night shift unsafe and unpreferable. These problematic factors lead to a fall in the number of women that join the workforce in every sector and consequently widen the gender wage gap between men and women.
But we think equal pay day conversations are leaving out some crucial topics and data points. It’s not only about the gender pay gap. It’s about many small yet significant points which will give a new perspective towards the day.
Gender wealth gap for example –
To come up with effective solutions for equal pay, we need to understand the gender wealth gap as well. Let’s not only focus on what women earn in comparison to men but instead on what women already have and keep in comparison to men.
The gender wealth gap is even wider because of multiple reasons. Some of them are interrelated with unequal pay and some are independent.
- If a woman has always been getting less pay as compared to men then her overall wealth is lesser than men.
- Women tend to take career breaks which are always not because of their choices but circumstantial. This ultimately reduces the wealth of women.
- Women tend to spend more on household things and children, in terms of their education and other expenses as compared to men. If a woman is a primary caregiver, then with her lesser pay and more expenses, she ends up having less overall wealth.
- Women tend to save and invest less because of less education, financial freedom, and awareness. Let’s not forget, globally the finance and investment sector is highly dominated by men.
- Of course the extra burden of pink tax! From sanitary products to clothes to cosmetics, women spend much more than men to just survive.
So, the discussion about equal pay also automatically becomes a discussion about all this and more!
What should we all do about this?
- Ask the right questions –
While accepting a job, do ask about the pay scale and if there’s a gap between your paycheck and the men who are doing the exact same job.
- Invest invest and invest –
Do active interest in your earnings and start investing. Put aside money for emergency purposes, plan your expenses and start saving.
- Discuss the financial matters with all family members –
Whether it’s about your kid’s education or other unexpected expenses, do express your opinion and discuss how you can manage the money without one person getting extra burdened by having to pay extra.
- Invest and spend on women led businesses –
It’s not a fight that we can fight alone. The more the merrier. How to do it? Talk about women led businesses, buy from women entrepreneurs and do spread a word.
- Educate the female members about money –
From a young age, let girls know the importance of money. How to spend, save and invest it.