Gender Pay Gap: Women at The Receiving End

In March 2016, a comment by the Tennis star Novak Djokovic triggered a major controversy. The summary of his statement — men’s tennis is the real crowd puller and they deserve to get paid more than women. He also questioned the initiatives of equal prize money in tennis.

Well, blaming only Djokovic for his selfish comment will not solve the problem. Just like most men, it all came from the same mindset that goes back to the medieval era, where women’s rights and freedom of movement were constricted.

The whole controversy also stirred the hornet’s nest; a sensitive topic to which many women activists and organisations have been trying to draw the world’s attention to. The purpose of this write up is providing facts and reasons as to why women should get equal pay and not be deemed as ineffective that male protagonists think.

 Some Examples of Stark Gender Pay Gap

Let’s see some real-life examples gender pay gap that came to notice in the recent times: 

  • In March 2016 the U.S National Soccer Team sent a written complaint to the U.S Equal Employment Opportunity Commission against wage discrimination. The women’s soccer team is the most successful American team in the U.S. soccer history with 295 wins (men’s team won 150) under their belt between 2000 and 2016. In 2015, the women’s team won the soccer world cup and generated more revenues than men for the U.S. Soccer Federation. Women get $72,000 salary a year. Men don’t have a salary, though they get more pay ($5,000) per game. Both teams play nearly 20 matches a year, where women get $72,000 and men $1,00,000! (Source: Vince News, HBO). 
  • According to the Washington Post, American women earn 79 cents for every dollar a man earns. 
  • In the U.S, the situation is even worse for women of colour. A Huffington Post article published in December of 2016 states that black women earn merely 63 percent compared with white men. It’s more dismal for Latina women, which is just 54 percent. 
  • The corporate world is no different. According to PayScale, an online salary database, in no industry women earn equal or more than men overall. In the U.S only, an average female employee earns $44,800 a year, compared with a man who earns $60,200 a year. A significant difference of 26 percent. 

Why Equal Pay for Women is a Valid Argument

Soon after the Djokovic controversy, the Time magazine came up with an article citing the reasons there should be equal pay for men and women. These reasons are not just valid for tennis, but in every sphere where women are working hard and thriving with men shoulder to shoulder. We have rephrased the reasons to make them more applicable for all women.

Here are the reasons at a glance:

Reason 1: Women are equally or even more qualified and hard working than men

It’s a fact that most men can see and still tend to ignore. Be it in the sports arena or on the corporate work floor, women are qualified and quite committed to do their job well. It should reflect in their pay cheque too.

Reason 2: Families are increasingly dependent on women as more men are losing jobs

If we go by the ‘Center for American Progress’ website, the unemployment rate among men has gone up by nearly 3.00 percent every year due to the economic downturn. During these tough times, families have been more dependent on working women. Low pay scale has been making things difficult for women to provide complete support to their families.

Reason 3: Equal pay will increase gross national income significantly

A research by the Institute for Women’s Policy Research (IWPR) shows that if women get equal pay, it will result in a gain of $447.6 billion annually in the U.S national income in the , and they can take care of their families better.

Reason 4: Implementing equal pay will help eliminate other social discriminations against women

Abolishing gender pay gap completely may trigger a social revolution and establish equality in the society as a whole. There are numerous social evils that create obstacles for women in every way possible. It will be a true step towards achieving social parity.

Closing Words

Before wrapping up, let’s know what Indian Constitution says about equal pay. Article 39 (d) in the Equal Remuneration Act, 1976 states that it is employers’ duty to pay equally to men and women for the same amount of work, or any work of similar nature. There is also a penalty for any discriminatory practice. Despite the law, it is still a long way to go because it comes from our deep-rooted and biased psyche that needs a drastic overhaul.

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