Chitra Unnithan, TNN Sep 3, 2013,

AHMEDABAD: Women get less pay than men even in the formal sector, not because they are less qualified but simply because they may get married and are, therefore, potential mothers. And this is true not only of other states but also of Gujarat where women are paid 42% less than men in the formal sector, says a survey by a faculty member of the Indian Institute of Management, Ahmedabad (IIM-A). The fair sex is often disadvantaged in access to employment opportunities and conditions of work, and the survey tries to quantify the magnitude of gender disparities.

The survey finds that the gender gap in pay is the highest in Assam, Rajasthan, Bihar and Madhya Pradesh, with women’s earning in these states being 64%, 59%, 50% and 47% less respectively. Delhi has the lowest gender gap in pay with females earning only 20% less than males, followed by Sikkim and Chattisgarh where women earn 23% less than men.

For all other states, the pay gap ranges from 25% to 44%. Zone-wise analysis of data for the whole country shows that the north zone has the smallest gender gap in pay (of 30.50%) whereas the west zone has the highest gender gap of 47%.

A total of 16,500 people from across India responded by filling in the online questionnaire over a period of six years. Out of the 16,500 online responses obtained through the survey 13,729 were males and 2,771 were females.m

The survey, ‘Gender Pay Gap in the Formal Sector’, was conducted by Prof Biju Varkkey, faculty of personnel and industrial relations area; Rupa Korde, faculty, economics area, foundation for liberal and management education, Pune; and Leeja Anand, a research associate at IIM-A.

As for reasons for the gender disparities, the survey finds that women who are not married are denied employment opportunities or lose bargaining power because it is feared that they might quit their jobs when they get married and move with their respective spouses or take time off when getting married.

“Women often take up part-time jobs or a career break when they are required to take care of their children. Those women, who return to the labour market for a full-time job after a break or part-time work, are offered lower wages than their male counterparts. Even those women who do not have children are not given any preference because they are categorized as potential mothers,” says the survey.

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