The report released by Legal & General Group revealed that there was a gender pay gap of 32% among gig workers with women being worried more about their career and future because of being less paid as compared to their male counterparts. This gap shows that we are still far from our dreams of equal work, and equal pay.
The report revealed that among the highest-earning gig workers with income above $100,000, only 36% were women. Meanwhile, the lowest earning gig workers group of gig workers earning below $50,000 consisted of 58% females. Meanwhile, the group of gig workers earning between $50,000 and $100,000 had 60% men and 40% women. In fact, the report revealed that while the median earning for US gig workers is $4,000, for women and men separately it is $2,500 and $4,500 respectively which is a huge pay gap considering that we are in the 2023 economy that is trying hard to accommodate the gender gap.
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Gender Pay Gap In Gig Jobs
The report also revealed that most of the female gig workers were employed in industries like Writing, Media, Beauty, Health, and Online Services and not the IT sector which is currently the fastest-growing sector with ample opportunities for freelancers and the highest pay. The pay gap and lack of good earning opportunities have caused 71% of women gig workers to be worried about their future financial conditions in long term. The survey also revealed the contrasting reasons between men and women to take up gig jobs.
43% of female gig workers chose gig jobs because they had a child and 18% chose gig jobs after having a child. Meanwhile, there were only 8% who worked gig jobs because they had the responsibility of their kids and though 19% of them worked gigs in order to be more available for their children, the number was still lower than the females. The numbers clearly show that for women, freelancing means they can multitask easily and have flexible work timings. They can look after their kids, household duties, parents, and other elderly's health while still managing to do a job and support the finances of the house. That is why 53% of women considered working from home as the best thing about gig jobs while only 39% of men thought so.
Indian Women in WFH model
A recent survey from India revealed how the hybrid mode of the industry has impacted female workers adversely. While many women found that working from home or in a hybrid home saved their expenses on commuting to work, it impacted their networking opportunities and promotions in comparison to men. Not only this, because of working from home, women are also expected to do household chores while men are exempted from this duty. Work from the office exempts women from housework and they can focus more on their job while men are excused from housework whether it is in the office or at home.
It seems that while companies are trying to be more diverse and inclusive by hiring more and more female staff, they are not paying them the amount they deserve as compared to men who do the same work or hold the same position. Gender-based discrimination in pay has always been a problem in society and despite several efforts, it still is a prominent issue that is hard to tackle. It is important to understand that it is not just about increasing the female workforce but also about paying them their rightful part. Exploiting them with less pay for equal labour as compared to men is not how the industry can progress.
Be gig workers in US or women working in the hybrid model in India, both are paid less compared to men. Also, women are exploring gig jobs or the WFH model so that they can be available when needed at home. They can provide for their children while balancing their jobs. However, the bottom lines remain the same, everything falls on women's shoulders and again a system to trap women in a box. These ways may be helping women but why can't men be more supportive and share a load of childcare equally? The problem is not with gig work, it's the reason why they are picking up such jobs. That is coming from child-rearing, and familial duties, and the root cause is patriarchy.