India’s Gender Wage Gap: 7 Charts to Prove Feminists Aren’t Lying


The recently released Monster Salary Index compiles wage data across eight sectors of formal employment in India between January 2013 and September 2015. (Photo: iStockphoto)
The recently released Monster Salary Index compiles wage data across eight sectors of formal employment in India between January 2013 and September 2015. (Photo: iStockphoto)

India’s Gender Wage Gap: 7 Charts to Prove Feminists Aren’t Lying

For every naysayer who believes feminists have blown the wage gap issue out of proportion, there’s an array of statistics that underscore the disproportionate salary structures across sectors and industries. One such, The Monster Salary Index (MSI), was recently released by Monster India, Paycheck and Indian Institute of Management, Ahmedabad.

Sticky Floors And Glass Ceilings

The report pegs India’s gender pay gap at 25.4 percent. Simply put, if the median hourly wage of a man in a job is Rs 100, then for the same job, working conditions, expectations and output, a woman would get Rs 74.60. 

Across all industries surveyed, women are systematically paid less for a plethora of ‘reasons’ – so-called disruption in career due to childbirth and “parenthood duties” (MSI), for being less assertive than men during salary negotiations, and attempts by competitors to keep salaries offered to women employees uniform - which ensure everyone is paying less.

The global gender gap across health, education, economic opportunity and politics has closed by only 4 percent in the past 10 years, with the economic gap closing by just 3 percent, suggesting it will take another 118 years to close this gap completely.
World Economic Forum’s Global Gender Gap Report 2015

A Sector-Wise Breakdown

With prominent women leaders such as Chanda Kochhar, Naina Lal Kidwai, Arundhati Bhattacharya and Chitra Ramakrishna in the banking and financial services industry, it comes as a surprise to many that even in this sector, on an average, women earn Rs 256.60 per hour to Rs 311.8 for men.

The report makes this clear – while women in supervisory position earn more than women in non-supervisory positions, they still earn less than their male colleagues in comparable positions of power. 

On an average, women get paid Rs 45.30 less than men per hour in the transport and logistics industry, with the hopeful yellow bar for women in 2014 being held up as an “extraordinarily high wage figure for women, coming from a low sample.” (MSI)

This is the only industry in which women in supervisory positions earn Rs 4.40 per hour more than their male counterparts. The MSI notes with astonishment that “in some exceptional cases, women can indeed earn more than men.”

This sector has one of the highest gender wage gaps in the country, with women earning 25.3 percent less than men. While wages for men have more or less remained the same over the years, the pay is rising for women. With 8.5 percent growth in 2014-15, this industry has a lot of potential to close the gender wage gap.

At the risk of over-simplifying, growth means more jobs, more jobs mean statistically more women in the workforce, and an increase in female representation means having a seat the the table where salaries are decided – boardrooms and unions. 

The industry that is conveniently used to stereotype women’s career choices (nurse, jhola-brandishing activist), is also unfair to women. Men earn Rs 240.60 per hour as compared to Rs. 178.30 for women.

The median hourly wage for men has decreased by Rs 17 in the last few years, while that for women has increased sharply by Rs 64 per hour. 

This one’s the devil among all the industries surveyed – perhaps second only to the gender wage gap in agriculture. For a man’s remuneration of Rs 100 an hour, a woman in the same job gets Rs 65.10. To make matters worse, wages of men have risen through the years, while the wages of women dipped and then rose, still leaving a wide gap in favour of men.

If women had a penny for every time they were told to become a teacher, they would still have less than their male colleague.

The 2014 economic meltdown was particularly harsh on this sector. While men are still struggling to catch up with the pay they received in 2013, women have surpassed their expectations and exceeded their original salaries in 2015-.16. 

Rich with stereotypes such as “women can’t code”, the data for IT services is abysmal. In India, men earn Rs 360.9 per hour on the job, while women earn Rs 239.6.

While the wages for men remained roughly the same, wages for women have been slashed down by Rs 55 in the last three years in the IT service industry. 

To Those Who Didn’t Make It to the List

Legal and Market Consultancy, and Business Activities did not have data available for a year-to-year comparison due to the low number of women participating in the survey. Yet, MSI shows a 24.2 percent wage gap between men and women in this sector, and a wage increase in men’s salaries over the year.

The TV and film world is not spared either, with Kangana Ranaut, Deepika Padukone and Kalki calling out the industry on its double standards. While a lead actress gets anywhere between Rs 7 to 9 crore for a movie, the Khan men begin at Rs 50 crore and upwards.

Also Read: Gender Pay Gap: Why Deepika and Kangana are Due for an Increment

According to data collected by the National Sample Survey Office (NSSO) for 2011-12, there exists a wage gap of 19.78 percent in the informal sector (including all occupations except crop-based farming). The sector includes an impressive 55 percent of India’s billions, and thus a high number of women who are discriminated against.

In farming, the situation is worse with women being considered as ‘family/dependents’ of the farmer (M) despite doing 80 percent of the farm work. They also own only 13 percent of the land they work on, according to a study by Oxfam India.  

Numbers don’t lie, and visualising them forces you to look the truth in the eye. Women are grossly underpaid compared to men, are less preferred for promotions and leadership positions, and are almost seen as flight risks and wasted investments if nearing the socially-decided marriageable age.

That’s a violation of eight articles and five acts of the Indian Constitution, right there.

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