Why Are Women Paid Less By Corporate India?

Does taking a break from career means the same for men and women in corporate jobs? .


For every dollar a man earns, a woman is paid 81 cents on an average. Though this gap is getting closed every year, it still does exist, way stronger in some sectors. There are many factors behind this wage disparity between men and women in the corporate sector. We tried to list a few:

Motherhood Penalty

One of the major reasons for the pay gap is that women are more likely to take a break during their careers to have children or to seek lower paid positions that offer more flexibility to make it easier to manage a family. This predominant gender norm that women are meant to have children and will eventually become mothers and homemakers (whether or not they actually do or want to) result in assumptions about their proficiency, productivity levels, or commitment to their careers, which in turn can impact compensation. If they return to work full-time, they are often forced to accept a lower wage compared to the wage they would have earned had they stayed in their original job. This is the motherhood penalty or the childbearing penalty.

Part-Time Roles

Women often choose to move to part-time employment or to step out of a career promotion pathway in order to have more time for motherhood and childcare when their children are young. And part-time work, even for the same kind of job in the same occupation and sector, has a lower wage with fewer benefits than full-time work.

Does Marital Status Affect Gender Pay Gap?

According to an online survey conducted by Paycheck India (from 2006 to 2011), marital status is also one of the factors for gender pay gap. For women who were single, the gender pay gap is the lowest at 27%. It increases for married women and divorced women at a little above 40%. It is highest for widowed women at more than 60%.

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This predominant gender norm that women will eventually become mothers and homemakers result in assumptions about their productivity levels or commitment to careers, which impacts compensation.

Slow Career Progression: Opportunity Gap

Mentorship has also been a long-term issue, especially in male-dominated areas, or areas where the senior people are men who tend to be more supportive, encouraging and helpful to young men than to women. This could be one of the reasons for the opportunity gap which leads to lower pays.

Discrimination & Stereotyping Still Play a Role

No matter what, there is enough data to show that discrimination, stereotyping and implicit biases in earnings and promotion opportunities for women still exist.

What’s In It For Me?

The Indian government has passed various Acts to ensure equal pay and equal treatment at the workplace. If you think you aren’t being treated fairly, you can talk, or write, to your employer/HR to try to resolve the issue informally first. If not satisfied, you can always file a complaint with a local or regional labor officer or commissioner with simply a letter detailing your problem. Please ensure to take a receipt of the same from his office on a duplicate copy of the same.

Also, one can directly approach the Civil Court by filing a civil suit against the employer. There are plenty of online consumer complaints forums which can help with the process.

Naina Sood
Naina Sood
Naina was former staff at Dutch Uncles, she writes on business-life-cycle, funding, small businesses and start-ups.

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