According to the International Labor Organization’s Global Wage Report, women in Pakistan earn 34% less than men on average. Pakistan also has the highest overall hourly average gender gap of the 73 countries for which comparable data is available. This discrimination transcends to mothers and non-mothers also since mothers tend to earn less due to the reduction in worktime and their employment in more family friendly jobs – also known as the ‘Motherhood Gap’.
The gender wage gap persists in all sectors of the country and in all socioeconomic segments of the society; from women employed in the rural agricultural sector, to the corporate sector and the entertainment industry. Their male counterparts are paid more for the same number of hours or the same workload, simply because they are men. Scroll down to read some of the arguments made to justify not giving equal pay, and the 4 ways to combat them:
Why Equal Pay Doesn’t Get The Attention It Deserves:
1. Supposed gender differences in education, experience, occupational preferences and exposure are often used to justify a difference in wage gap. Women are also told that they are entitled to maternity leave, which is longer than paternity leave and that this can impact their productivity and net working hours.
2. Gender social norms and roles steer the women towards a certain type of field. Stereotypically these are art, social sciences and design. This is also because unfortunately, a lot of women are only allowed to gain an education in fields that will complement their reproductive labor and family life.
3. Women are often disregarded as the sole breadwinners of the family and their income isn’t given the importance it deserves. In some instances, it hurts the male ego to place equal importance on a woman’s income.
4. In the conservative segments of the society, a woman being dependent on her partner or parents is encouraged leading to a higher dependency ratio and they are discouraged to work.
However, in recent times, things are changing in a certain socio economic segment of the society. Women are now constituting of a larger part of the workforce and embracing leadership positions in the corporate, social and political world.
How To Combat The Age Gap:
1. Know that it is your right to demand equal pay for the same amount of work. Article 25 of The Constitution of Pakistan states that “There shall be no discrimination on the basis of sex”.
2. Abide by the minimum wage and laws for domestic staff. The Punjab Domestic Workers Act 2019 regulates the employment of domestic workers and aims to provide them with social protection and safeguards their welfare by ensuring equal pay, maternity benefits and safety. According to the Homebased Workers Act 2018, Sindh protects the rights of all women employed in an informal or unorganised sector, that are carrying out work from their homes.
3. Advocate for rights at your workplace. Women employed in a formal sector should advocate for inclusive employment opportunities, alternative work modalities for women, a safe work place, safe and affordable transportation, anti-harassment laws and importance of quality childcare services.
4. Support companies that are equal opportunity employers. If this privilege is available to you, always support companies that follow the principle of equal opportunity in regards to their hiring and promotion procedures. An equal opportunity employer does not discriminate based on sex, gender, sexual orientation, mental health, medical history, marital status, age, religion, ethnicity, appearance and race.