Gender Pay Gap


Every individual in this world wants to work for his/her betterment. The constant hard work and dedication required to make it big in the world is very high. Even if one wants to merely survive in this world, money is an essential part of that process. An individual regardless of his/her gender should be given the pay for the work done that is allotted to them. There should not be any kind of discrimination while payment of their salary. However, this seems like an ideal world now. There is a lot of gender discrimination while payment of the salary. It means that more often than never women are paid less than men for the same amount of work done by both of them.

It is already a tough job to maintain a reputable job in this world for a woman. Women have to work harder than men to achieve the same thing as men. This is because the social expectations and duties attached to a woman often make it hard for them. For example, if a woman takes a leave for a day with her children then it is seen as a barrier for them and she is told that she should be professional but if a man takes a day off with his children then he is appreciated for being a family man. Such kind of hypocrisy can be seen in almost all kinds of workplaces. People need to understand that a woman can work and have a family just like a man. Even after all this if she makes it and completes all the work she is required to do and sometimes more, she still does not get paid equally.


The gender pay gap is the measure of what women are paid relative to men for the same work done. It is calculated by dividing women’s wages by men’s wages and then this ratio is usually expressed as a percent. This gives a result which shows how much a woman makes relatively to a man. The latest data shows that the current gender pay gap in India is estimated to be 24.81%. This pay gap is not only known to low-earning women but also high-earning women. This kind of discrimination is faced by women at every pay level. Men out-earn women in almost each and every point in the wage distribution. This may differ in amounts but it is still significantly present at every pay level. This kind of discrimination is present everywhere. Women of different races and ethnicities make less than their male counterparts. For example, wages of white women and women of color are still less than their male counterparts. As mentioned earlier, it is another level of hell if a woman has children. Studies show that women with children are paid less than women without children. Women with children are also paid less than men with or without children. It seems that motherhood is treated as some sort of penalty. However, fatherhood does not face the same consequence.


The equal pay for equal work is governed under the Equality Act of 2010. This Act gives a right to equal pay between women and men for equal work done. This Act includes individuals who are employed in the same place as well as equality in pay and all other contractual terms.

The provisions in this Act state that the right of men and women to receive equal pay for equal work done applies to all employees, those working from home or in office regardless of them being employed on full-time or part time, those who have casual or temporary contracts regardless of their time of service. The Act also includes other workers such as people who are self-employed, that is, individuals whose contracts require personal performance of the work. In State of Punjab and Ors. v. Jagjit Singh and ors, it was held that any employee, who does the same work as another who has also done the same duties and responsibilities, cannot be paid less. The Supreme Court further said that since India is a signatory to the International Covenant on Economic, Social and Cultural Rights, 1966, India cannot escape from the obligations under this provision. It is true that equal pay for equal work is not a constitutional right or a fundamental right. But it can be described through the interpretations of Article 14, 15 and 16 which guarantee that according to these fundamental rights of equality before law, protection against any kind of discrimination and equal opportunities in the matters of public employment.

Another important action that was taken was the Equal Remuneration Act, 1976. This was an important step to achieve equal pay for equal work. This Act was laid down to give equivalent compensation to men and women laborers and to stop segregation based on their gender involved in all issues related to business and work opportunities. This was a big milestone because this enactment not only gave women the option to request equal pay for their work but also if they faced any kind of imbalance concerning enlistment forms, work preparing or advancement and moves inside the organization then they can challenge that in the court of law. After this Act, organizers and individual employers were considered responsible to keep the guidelines endorsed under this Act. In greater parts of the government employments, there is equal pay for equal work but this cannot be said for private organizations. There is still a significant pay gap in private organizations.

The Minimum Wages Act provides workers, who are poorly organized, with a minimum fixed wage. This minimum wage is reviewed and revised after every five years. Another Act was enacted to provide proper financial protection to the workmen. The Act called Workmen’s Compensation Act ensured that if the workers faced any accidental injury arising out of or during his/her employment then his/her dependents or next of kin will be provided financial protection. The Equal Remuneration Act 1976 that dealt with equal pay for equal work was repealed and replaced by the Code on Wages, 2019 in August 2019. This could have been a great opportunity to fill the gender gap but unfortunately it did not happen.

Author: Saumya Shreya,
National Law University and Judicial Academy, Assam (First Year)

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