TODAY -

Equal pay for work of equal value

Ranjan K Baruah *



Many of us may not be aware that women earn approx 77 cents for every dollar men earn for work of equal value - with an even wider wage gap for women with children and at this rate, it will take the next 257 years to close the global gender pay gap. It has been found that women are concentrated in lower-paid, lower-skill work with greater job insecurity and under-represented in decision-making roles.

The most important thing is women are also in full time unpaid jobs like managing homes as women carry out at least two and a halftimes more unpaid household and care work than men. When men and women are working then why is there a gap when it comes to salary or pay?

We have seen how our world is changing. It is changing fast, through innovation, increasing mobility and informality. But it needs to change faster to empower women, whose work has already driven many of the global gains in recent decades.

When we look at the global data then we shall find that women still predominantly occupy jobs that pay less and provide no benefits. They earn less than men, even as they shoulder the enormous—and economically essential—burden of unpaid care and domestic work.

The global community has prepared a roadmap for development or whom we can say as SDGs or Sustainable Development Goals or Agenda 2030. SDGs have made a commitment on economic empowerment of all including women. Every woman should enjoy her right to decent work and also get equal pay or maybe even more than men if needed.

In order to ensure that no one is left behind, SDGs address the need to achieve gender equality and the empowerment of all women and girls.

Furthermore, the SDGs promote decent work and economic growth by seeking full and productive employment and decent work for all women and men, including for young people and persons with disabilities, and equal pay for work of equal value. Mainstreaming of a gender perspective is crucial in the implementation of the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development.

Like many other days, the International Equal Pay Day, celebrated on 18th September, represents the long-standing efforts towards the achievement of equal pay for work of equal value. It further builds on the United Nations commitment to human rights and against all forms of discrimination, including discrimination against women and girls. As discussed earlier, across all regions, women are paid less than men, with the gender pay gap estimated at 23 per cent globally.

Gender equality and the empowerment of women and girls continues to be held back owing to the persistence of historical and structural unequal power relations between women and men, poverty and inequalities and disadvantages in access to resources and opportunities that limit women’s and girls’ capabilities.

Progress on narrowing that gap has been slow. While equal pay for men and women has been widely endorsed, applying it in practice has been difficult.

Achieving equal pay is an important milestone for human rights and gender equality. It takes the effort of the entire world community and more work remains to be done.

The United Nations, including UN Women and the International Labour Organization (ILO) invites Members states and civil society, women’s and community-based organizations and feminist groups, as well as businesses and workers’ and employers’ organizations, to promote equal pay for work of equal value and the economic empowerment of women and girls.

It is not impossible, so if planned and executed then things can be made realistic though it might take time. The most important step would be having policies of different governments where they ensure equal pay. We can enforce laws and regulations upholding the principle of equal pay for work of equal value.

Let us also ensure that businesses do their part to close the gender pay gap. Let us bring amendments to laws if needed which do not encourage work for women as women can work just like men in different sectors. We have to also focus on other areas like gender mainstreaming to generate awareness so that at the end equal pay can be made possible for all.


With direct inputs from UN publications


* Ranjan K Baruah wrote this article for The Sangai Express
Ranjan K Baruah is a career mentor, skill trainer and motivational speaker and can be reached at at bkranjan(AT)gmail(DOT)com
This article was posted on September 26, 2021.


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