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The United Indian

Bridging the Divide: Ensuring Equal Pay for Equal Work in India

 equal pay for equal work in India

Empowering Equality At Workplace

Feb 13, 2024
Social Cause

In India, the issue of gender pay disparity remains a significant challenge despite progress in various spheres of development. While the principle of equal pay for equal work in India is enshrined in law, the reality on the ground often falls short of this ideal. This article delves into the complexities surrounding the gender pay gap in India and explores strategies to bridge this divide.


Introduction to the Gender Pay Gap in India

The gender pay gap refers to the disparity in earnings between men and women performing similar work or fulfilling comparable roles within organizations. In India, this gap persists across industries and sectors, reflecting systemic inequalities prevalent in society.


The Stark Reality

The World Bank reports that Indian women earn 34% less than men for similar work. This gap widens across sectors, education levels, and experience. The International Labour Organization estimates that it could take 223 years to achieve gender pay parity in India. This reality translates to countless women facing wage discrimination, limited career progression, and diminished economic independence.


equal pay for equal work in India

According to a recent study aimed at analysing the situation Equal Pay for Equal Work in India, women in similar professions make 2.2% less money than men at the individual contributor level, but for managers and supervisors and directors and senior executives, the difference rises to 3.1% and 4.9–6.1%, respectively. As women go up the organizational ladder, the gender pay gap widens, meaning that Indian women workers earn less than their male counterparts at every career turn.


The gender pay disparity can differ significantly between industries and businesses. However, the study found that senior female professionals in India make, on average, just Rs 85 for every Rs 100 earned by men in similar positions.


Factors contributing to the Gender Pay Gap in India

Discrimination and Bias

Gender discrimination in the workplace remains a significant barrier to achieving pay equity. Biases, whether conscious or unconscious, influence hiring decisions, salary negotiations, and career advancement opportunities.


Occupational Segregation

Women are often concentrated in low-paying sectors such as caregiving, hospitality, and textiles, while men dominate higher-paying fields like technology, finance, and engineering. This occupational segregation perpetuates wage disparities.


equal pay for equal work in India

Lack of Representation in Leadership Roles

The underrepresentation of women in leadership positions exacerbates the gender pay gap in India. Limited access to decision-making roles and board positions restricts women's ability to advocate for fair compensation policies.


Legal Framework for Equal Pay in India

The Equal Remuneration Act of 1976 mandates equal pay for equal work in India and prohibits discrimination based on gender. However, enforcement mechanisms are often weak, leading to non-compliance by employers.


Recent legislative developments, including amendments to labour laws and corporate governance guidelines, aim to strengthen provisions related to pay equity and gender diversity in the workforce.


Challenges in Implementing Equal Pay Policies

Lack of Enforcement Mechanisms

The enforcement of existing laws and regulations remains a challenge due to inadequate monitoring mechanisms and limited penalties for non-compliance. Many companies continue to flout pay equity norms with impunity.


equal pay for equal work in India

Cultural and Societal Norms

Deep-rooted cultural norms and stereotypes perpetuate the belief that men are primary breadwinners and women's contributions are secondary. This mindset reinforces wage differentials and inhibits efforts to achieve gender parity in wages.


Data Accessibility and Transparency

The lack of comprehensive data on salary structures and compensation practices hinders efforts to assess the extent of the gender pay gap accurately. Limited transparency exacerbates disparities and undermines accountability.


Initiatives Addressing the Gender Pay Gap In India

To address the gender pay gap in India, organizations are implementing diversity and inclusion programs aimed at promoting gender equity in recruitment, retention, and advancement. These initiatives include unconscious bias training, mentorship programs, and flexible work arrangements.

Civil society organizations and advocacy groups are also pushing for legislative changes to fortify safeguards against wage discrimination and to increase transparency in pay practices.


Importance of Equal Pay for Economic Growth and Social Progress

Achieving pay parity is crucial for sustainable development and economic progress in addition to being a question of social fairness. Reducing the gender pay gap in India can improve morale at work, increase production, and help alleviate poverty.


equal pay for equal work in India

Strategies for Bridging the Pay Gap

Pay Transparency Measures

Pay discrepancies can be identified and resolved with the help of increased transparency in salary negotiations and performance reviews. Accountability and practice of fair pay can also be promoted by disclosing data about wages and carrying out frequent pay audits.


Gender-Neutral Recruitment and Promotion Policies

Unbiased hiring and promotion practices can be achieved by enacting policies that prioritize skills & merits regardless of the gender. One of the most important ways to close the pay gap is to hire a diversified pool of people and offer equal chances for professional growth.


Training and Sensitization Programs

Fostering an inclusive workplace culture can be achieved through educating managers and employees about unconscious prejudice and pay equity. Training programs on gender sensitivity and diversity awareness, which foster empathy and understanding can be helpful to achieve equitable outcomes.


Empowering Women in the Workplace

The reduction of the gender wage gap depends critically on women's economic empowerment through opportunity, skill development, and education. The key to promoting gender equality is to provide work cultures that are encouraging, provide mentorship opportunities, and encourage women in leadership positions.


equal pay for equal work in India

Case Studies of Successful Pay Equity Initiatives

Pay equity efforts have been successfully implemented by a number of businesses, improving employee satisfaction and retention rates. These organizations have shown their dedication to justice and equality by taking proactive steps to reduce salary inequities.


A Shared Responsibility

It is not just the job of lawmakers or enterprises to ensure that equal pay is paid for equal work. It necessitates a team effort from people, groups, and institutions. Men need to be proactive allies who fight against prejudice and promote fair practices. We can all work together to remove the obstacles that support the pay gap by elevating the voices of women, demanding transparency, and holding institutions responsible.


Future Outlook and Recommendations

In addition to being required by law, bridging the gap to guarantee equal pay for equal work in India is also morally and economically important as India works to meet its development goals. India can lead the way towards a fairer future for all of its people by tackling institutional obstacles, encouraging transparency, and cultivating inclusive work environments.



India's ambitions for social justice and inclusive growth are seriously threatened by the gender wage gap. All people can live in a more equitable and successful society if we eliminate systemic impediments and prioritise pay equity in policymaking. Moreover, it calls for audacious legislative changes, proactive business conduct, and a change in the way society views caste and gender. India can leverage the potential of its labour force and lead the way towards a fairer and more inclusive society by cultivating a culture of justice and inclusivity.


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