Addressing gender pay gap disparity

“Last time I checked, there’s no discount for being a woman. Groceries don’t cost us less; rent doesn’t cost us less, so why should we be paid less”? – Hillary Clinton

 Quite recently, I read a few articles highlighting the issue of gender pay-gap (average difference between the remuneration paid to working men and women). It’s quite astonishing to see that spanning geographical regions, the practice of women being underpaid is quite normal.  While corporate giants like Google and Facebook strive to even out this issue, it’s vital for every company to address the Gender pay gap disparity as a matter of priority.

During my corporate days, there was adequate transparency about the pay-out. I vividly recall being paid as per the grades assigned to our designation, so the concept of pay gap was almost non-existent. Today, as I skim though such articles, it makes me think, “what would I do if such unfair treatment was meted out to me just cause of Gender’’?

In India, as per a report published in the Economic times, women earn 20% less than men. Despite the similar educational qualification, skills, and experience, is it really justified?  While any improvement measure for this, by and large, has to come from the top, namely the CEO or people of similar stature, what can one as an employee do? A few suggestions from my train of thought:

  1. Analyse the facts :

Whether it’s through formal communication or a candid conversation with your male counterparts, try and get the numbers right. If you are performing the same roles and responsibilities and yet underpaid, it’s time to have it sorted.

2. Involve your HR or Supervisor :

Everyone should be paid for the job done and not for their gender. Have an open conversation with your HR or immediate supervisor and ask them grounds for the pay disparity. While the term “Company policies” is quite common, don’t let it deter you from getting what you deserve.

Though not a similar situation, I recall being denied a Promotion hike due to the fact that my Yearly hike (performance based) was due shortly. Though both were different, I felt it unjust to be deprived of something that I earned. Post a candid conversation with my manager and expressing my reasons, I had the issue evened out.

3. Empower Women :

It’s true; no one is going to fight our battles, but us. Not a mutiny or a rebellion, but try and empower women folk around you to speak up for their rights, strive to get paid equally for the work they do and eliminate pay discrimination.

Not much debated upon, this topic needs to be bought to the limelight to create an overall awareness and bridge the gap. Sacrificing a lot of things, women work hard and it’s only fair for them to be paid at par with men.  Addressing the gender pay gap will be more effective if employees take keen interest and bring it up at the relevant forums.  As I strongly believe, sometimes, we need to stick up for ourselves.

You may also want to read other articles written by the  author: ‘Stop limiting yourself‘, ‘Doing what you love – hobbies and passion to opportunity‘, ‘ Maximise your productivity to unleash your potential‘, ‘Be your own boss‘, ‘Broaden your intellectual horizon‘, ‘Career metamorphosis – Expert to beginner’, “Importance of networking for success in your career“, ‘Busy Day vs Productive Day‘, ‘Money matters for womens financial independence‘, ‘A new dawn in the horizon – career restart’ , ‘Being overlooked for promotion‘ .

About the author:

Nithya Jagadish – I am a commerce graduate with an overall experience of 10 years in the Corporate Industry and handled diversified assignments at HSBC and Hewlett Packard. After gaining considerable knowledge and success during my tenure, I decided to focus my attention on other areas of interest. Now, a doting mother of a one year old, I spend my day reading, apprising on my topics of interest and baby-sitting.

An avid reader and poetry enthusiast, my love for writing started while at school and my dreams have borne fruits after motherhood. I strongly believe in living life to the fullest and making the most of each beautiful day.

(The author is a guest blogger at Her Second Innings. The opinions expressed are those of the author.)

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