45 years after the equal pay act was introduced in Britain in 1970, researchers have found that British women receive 24% less wages, for the same job as men. The analysis by Robert Half a recruitment company says that women get paid less by £300,000 on an average during their career spanning 52 years, compared to their male compatriots.
Pay Disparity in India is 67% says Accenture’s Rekha Menon.
The Accenture report on gender pay parity ‘Getting to Equal 2017′ a survey of 28,000 executives employed across Industries in 29 countries says that in India the gender pay disparity is 67% way above the world average of 50%. Rekha Menon, chairman, Accenture in India says “Culturally, women are still meant to be prime care-givers at home. It is culturally acceptable for women to take breaks. Even otherwise, women don’t negotiate for better pay and are more accepting of what they are offered.”
The situation at the bottom of the pyramid is much bleaker. Women and children get almost the same payment in many professions in the unorganized sector in industries such as handloom, textiles, plantation industry, agriculture, earning just a fourth of their male counterparts. In many cases they operate as unpaid domestic labour, as they form a part of the large family of artisans headed by a male patriarch. They are appreciated but not monetarily compensated (other than pocket money) though they contribute to the family income.
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Aspirations Are Same But Challenges Are Different.
The aspirations of the man and the woman at the workplace are the same today though the challenges are distinctly different. Women are repeatedly breaking the glass ceiling in India and Arundhati Bhattacharya of SBI, Chanda Kochhar of ICICI Bank and Shikha Sharma of Axis Bank chair the three biggest banks of India. Still women are dropping out in large numbers after 5 to 10 years of service, largely due to family commitments.
Organizations need to be more alert about the skilled manpower lost due to women dropping off midway through their career. The SBI permits two years maternity leave says Arundhati Bhattacharya, showing that the Banking sector is primarily getting ready to make it easy for women to join back after child birth. However other industries have been slow to pick up the cue. Millions are invested in training these women in their formative years in the IT sector where at the entry level women exceed 20% of the work force, which slumps to 6% ten years down the line.
What of Intellectual Satisfaction?
When a Professor of Economics at Delhi University, Mrs Rupali Arora Khanna went on a sabbatical to accompany her Banker husband on an international posting in Singapore a few years ago, little did she guess that she would join the company of jobless raring to go women professionals, stuck in one of the most happening cities of the world, with nothing to do. “ Husbands lovingly call us the CEO of our Home – But is this satisfying enough? Not quite it seems!” says Khanna who finds many top professionals in her condominium who are looking for an identity in a foreign land.
“It is fine that we are economically secure and emotionally satisfied with our family in foreign lands but what happens to our intellectual satisfaction? After a few months we are bored stiff with very little to do. Some enterprising women who are lucky do start businesses or get jobs in foreign land for a few years, but they are few and far in between” says Khanna.
It is true that a modern day educated man cannot live on economic and emotional satisfaction alone, -without intellectual satisfaction. Neither can women. It is time organizations globally start becoming sympathetic to this cause and factor in new employment opportunities in the digital workplace, sensitive to moms and women in the workplace who drop out midway.