International Equal Pay Day, a United Nations (UN) initiative, is being observed globally for the first time on September 18 this year. Equal pay refers to all workers having the right to receive equal remuneration for work of equal value. The day is an important step towards eradicating the gender pay gap and overcoming sexual discrimination against women in the paid employment sector. It aims to highlight the importance of pay parity for a better tomorrow.
Commemorating the day, António Guterres, the Secretary-General of the United Nations, tweeted, “Equal pay is essential not only for women but to build a world of dignity and justice for all.”
Why are women relegated to lower-paid work?
Why do so many women work part-time?
Why do women see their wages decrease with motherhood?
— António Guterres (@antonioguterres) September 18, 2020
On the first-ever International Equal Pay Day, here are some facts and statistics that underline its significance:
• According to the UN’s global statistics, women receive 16 per cent less wages than men on average. However, some marginalised women – women of colour, immigrant women and women with children are paid even lesser. For instance, in the US, Black women earn only 62 cents, Native women 57 cents, and Latinas 54 cents for every dollar earned by white men.
• Even at the current level of progress in women’s education and higher rates of female labour market participation, it will take 257 years to achieve global pay parity.
• As per the Global Wage Report, 2018-19, working mothers earn less than working non-mothers on an average. It terms this phenomenon the ‘motherhood penalty/gap.’ This gap widens every time a working mother gives birth to another child.
• In India, the current gender pay gap stands at 19 per cent. Indian men earn Rs 46.19 more than their women counterparts on average.
• Also, in India, there is no gender pay gap in semi-skilled work. However, the gap is close to 20 per cent for skilled occupations and 30 per cent for highly skilled women. This data clearly shows that the gender pay gap increases with experience
• According to a recent survey of 3000 Indian working men and women, about 71 per cent of men and 66 per cent of women felt that their organisations should prioritise gender pay parity.
• A sectoral analysis of the Indian gender pay gap reveals that most relevant sectors have wage inequalities favouring men. These include IT/ITES services (26 per cent); manufacturing (24 per cent); healthcare, caring services, and social work (21 per cent). Notably, financial services, banking, and insurance is the only sector wherein men earn just 2 per cent more than women.
The UN has reported that the current Covid-19 crisis is exacerbating the gender pay gap problem in many countries. The International Equal Pay Day is a step in the right direction to combat the universal predicament of unequal pay.
Tarini Gandhiok is an intern with SheThePeople.TV