Equal pay for equal work Current Affairs - 2019

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Gender wage gap highest in India, women are paid 34% less than men: ILO

According to Global Wage Report 2018-19 published by International Labour Organization (ILO), women are paid most unequally in India, compared to men, when it comes to hourly wages for labour. This gap in wages, known as gender wage gap is the highest among 73 countries studied in the report. The findings are based on data from 136 countries.

Highlights of report

On average, women are paid 34% less than men in India. Globally, on average, hourly wages of women are 16% less than those of men. Inequality is higher in monthly wages, with a gap of 22%. Overall, real wages grew just 1.8% globally (136 countries) in 2017.Women are paid higher hourly wages than men in Bangladesh. Gender wage gap highest in India, women are paid 30% less than men.

In most countries, women and men differ significantly in respect of working time – specifically, that part-time work is more prevalent among women than among men. The gender wage gap is visible even with women with higher levels of education. Emphasis needs to be placed on ensuring equal pay for women and men.

The gender wage gap has remained unchanged at 20% from 2016 to 2017. But in 2017, gender gap was accompanied by near-stagnation in wages. Real wage growth was lowest since 2008, the year of the financial crisis. In real terms (adjusted for price inflation), global wage growth declined to 1.8% in 2017, from 2.4% in 2016.

In advanced economies (G20), real wage growth declined from 0.9% in 2016 to 0.4% in 2017, meaning near stagnation. By contrast, in emerging economies and developing G20 countries, real wage growth dipped marginally from 4.9% in 2016 and 4.3% in 2017.

This global stagnation in real wages comes in line with global growth forecast, which was revised lower by International Monetary Fund (IMF) earlier. The slowdown in wages at level of hourly labour wages is in stark contrast with organised sector salaries.

International Labour Organization (ILO)

The ILO is United Nations agency dealing with labour issues, particularly international labour standards, social protection, and work opportunities for all. It was established in 1919 as an agency of the League of Nations and is headquartered in Geneva, Switzerland. India is a founder member of the ILO. At present, it has 187 members. The principal means of action in the ILO is the setting up of International standards in the form of Conventions, Recommendations and Protocol. So far, India has ratified 45 Conventions, out of which 42 are in force. Out of these 4 are Core or Fundamental or Conventions.