#FeministMondays | Why Are Women Paid Less?


Credit | Sangoiri via Shutterstock


Did you know that women earn 77 percent less than men on an average?


Well, I didn’t. At least, not until I came across this article on the UN website here.


Quoting from the same article here:


“In terms of wages, the results in the report confirm previous ILO estimates that globally, women still earn on average 77 percent of what men earn. The report notes that this wage gap cannot be explained solely by differences in education or age. The gap can be linked to the undervaluation of the work women undertake and of the skills required in female-dominated sectors or occupations, discrimination, and the need for women to take career breaks or reduce hours in paid work to attend to additional care responsibilities such as child care.


Though there has been some small improvement in reducing gender wage gaps, if current trends prevail, the report confirms estimates that it will take more than 70 years to close the gender wage gaps completely.


70 years to close the gender wage gaps! Well, I don’t know about you but that is going to be a little too late for me. I need it to come about sooner than that if not for my generation than for my daughter’s at least. But it seems unlikely, isn’t it? Because I always get this feeling that nobody cares. The men are happy with what they are being paid so why should they bother. The women, us women, are worried, yes, but our efforts are so often fragmented. The worst thing though is that some of us even feel that we create a noise for no reason at all. So, yes, it seems well and truly unlikely.


A lot of what has been said in that article makes sense to me as a woman, as a working woman and a working mum. I had to take a break post child birth which invariably pushed me back 7 months in the career path. 7 months is a long time in my industry when the competition is fierce. 7 months is a lifetime really. But it doesn’t end there. I don’t have the bandwidth to spend 15 or 16 hours at work like most men often have the luxury to even after becoming fathers. I have to take care of things at home. Perception is what comes into play here. So, even though I can manage my official work within the 9 odd hours at my disposal or even occasionally by logging in from home, I’m the person who leaves at 5 sharp. So that makes me dispensable, probably even useless in the minds of those I report to or work with. Yes, because the impression is what contributes a lot to success in the workplace, success means a good designation and compensation. Therefore, in spite of working so very hard, I’ll probably retire earning way less than the men who started working at the same time as me. And that is the reality, a sad one that I have inherited.


70 years to bridging gender pay gap? I'm sorry but I don't like that. #FeministMondays Click To Tweet


It’s unfair if you really think about it. Most women put in more hours at home and at work. Yes, most women do and what we get in return is, well, not enough.


From being served the best and freshest portions at the dinner table to paying men more, that is now a norm.


I recently saw a video posted on the Lean In Community which actually made me think on this issue again. Women are paid at least 20% less than men. Imagine if we were paid 20% less in everything. Well, it kind of is, isn’t it? Indirectly but yes. Another article mentions that women are deprived of 23% of their earnings. This as per UN Women policy director Purna Sen. I wonder how men would react if the tables were turned? Well, they probably don’t need to think about it. And we probably won’t know what it feels like to be paid at par with them at least for the next 7 decades.


We have actually over hundreds of years placed men in a position where we will need to fight to even reach. From being served the best and freshest portions at the dinner table to paying them more, that is now a norm. For us women, though, it will take years of conditioning and fighting to bring that change from the dinner table to the salary slips.


But there’s still hope. This year on International Women’s Day, Iceland became the first country to make it mandatory for firms to prove that they pay equal pay for equal work. The Minister of Social Affairs and Equality of Iceland, Thorsteinn Víglundsson said “Equal rights are human rights. We need to make sure that men and women enjoy equal opportunity in the workplace. It is our responsibility to take every measure to achieve that.” If they can do that, why can’t we? But how?


Well, we can probably take a leaf out of the book of strategies used by the women there. If my memory serves me right then sometime in October last year, they left work at 2:38 pm, about 2 hours earlier than usual. Why? Well, because beyond that they actually work for free. Yes, considering they are paid 30% less than men. They united and effected a change. Why can’t we?


Think about it.




This post is part of the #FeministMondays series (previously called #IAmAFeminist series) on the blog. Inspired by a TEDx talk by Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie – We Should All Be Feminists, I intend to talk about the need for feminism through my posts, posts on my experience and observation as a female. I intend to talk about issues concerning women.


Join me and let’s work towards a world of gender parity. Remember, each voice counts. Tell me your story.




Linking to #mg hosted by Mackenzie Glanville



17 thoughts on “#FeministMondays | Why Are Women Paid Less?

  1. ‘Mind The Gap’ should be made a statutory working where workplace un equality is concerned. I was truly shocked to see the pay scale difference. 70 years to set it right is way too long!
    I like the idea of women leaving their workplace earlier, and only working for the amount of hours they think they are being paid for! Cheeky confidence!:)

  2. With voices like yours being raised on the subject, I am hoping things will change. Sooner rather than later. It’s pretty ridiculous that women are paid less for a skill that has nothing to do with gender. Why, I wonder. Is that because of years of conditioning or the fact that women won’t speak up and ask for what is rightfully theirs? It’s tragic. I love ‘Lean In’ for the principles it espouses. But how many women can actually speak up or lean in today? In India, a largely patriarchal society, a lot has to be overcome in order for women to ask and do it without quaking in their shoes. Let’s do what we can, Naba. Anything at all.

  3. True Nabanita. There is so much that we need to do to see adayen when we get paid the same as men and also get the same respect. The statistics do deflate you and one wonders if the change is fast enough. I see so many women drop out of work in their middle years

  4. A lot of companies have signed up the pact of bridging the gender pay gap in US. Target is a part of it. While I see the gap, one think that stands out for me is how women always under sell themselves. I’m guilty of that and when women in the past did that, see where we are. We need to stand up for sure.

  5. One of my favorite all-time shows is the Mary Tyler Moore show. Back in the 1970’s when that show was made, the lead character found out that she made less money than her predecessor who was a man. When she asked her boss, he said: “It’s because he’s a man. He has a wife and kids to support.” But then she pointed out to him that that logic made no sense. Because if pay was based on need then the man who had three kids should make more money than the man who had two kids…. so we’ve been fighting this for a long time. I wonder if there was such a gap in wartime when the only ones available to work were women. Maybe they still paid them less thinking that the women had no choice but to take the job while the men were overseas. Very interesting post!

  6. It’s definitely not fair. The problem is also that salaries aren’t transperent so you never know how much your colleagues are earning which makes it hard to compare!

  7. It may be years of conditioning but sometimes I feel that women aren’t as confident about their skills as men are. They tend to feel that they may not deserve the rise in paycheck… I have seen that hesitation in a lot of women, specially in STEM professions where there’s already disparity in the number of females vs men. Of course, the trend is changing. Although I don’t know people think working late is proportional to working hard. If a job is taking more than 8 hours to finish, then either it’s the inefficiency of the employee or the estimates were wrong. Keep voicing your opinion.

  8. It’s not that it isn’t possible; it’s that people won’t make it possible. And we won’t see change until we can get a critical mass of women making a lot of noise.

  9. Just yesterday, an old friend of mine, addressing a mixed group of people, spoke of how he leaves his work behind when he comes home and tries to give 100% to the chores and to being there for his family. He spoke of doing simple tasks at home, that are often assumed to be a ‘woman’s job’. If more men thought this way and were trained by their mothers to think this way, the world might be a more equal place.
    About working late, that’s a common Indian perception of working hard. In my opinion, it’s mostly inefficient people or those who are trying to make an impression who work late.

  10. Each voice makes a difference and this series is great to raise that awareness. It’s bizarre that it is still an issue in our era. It is though and the fight goes on.



  11. I was there in the bastions of male chauvinism in the early days of feminism (’70s and ’80s) working my way up the corporate ladder. It was ridiculous! Women had to work twice as hard to get half as far in management. I was fighting to gain respect every day, having to put up with things liked being referred to as ‘the girl’ or being asked if I was someone’s secretary. The clerical workers were even worse off and got no respect at all! The wage gap was deplorable then and it disheartens me to see it is still that way. I had hoped things would improve over these last few decades.

  12. Empowering post! Equal pay for equal work should be the standard, and hats off to my neighboor country Iceland for introducing this. In my country its not too bad, but still a difference – we must always adress this – should be a natural human thing! Great read.

  13. Believe it or not, until recently I had no idea of the gender pay gap. How naive, or rather ignorant of me. Well to be completely honest, I had heard of it a couple of times, but thought it was just a misconception, because it made no sense. Why should women get paid less for roles/skills that are not gender related at all? It was ridiculous enough for me to brush it aside, and never take it seriously, but apparently it was the truth, and a long standing discrimination. And the only way to fight this is by making our voices heard, as like you said, every voice makes a difference.

  14. We have to stand up for ourselves, raise our voice when such discriminations are seen. Actually women should be paid more as they we are supposed to take care of everything using our invisible hands and powers. But in the light of gender equality, I will settle for equal pay at work and equally sharing chores at home.

  15. I really hope this will change soon. This gender gap exists across the globe and I know here in Aus, women continue to fight it but still don’t have our voices heard. It’s frustrating. This especially seems to happen in the corporate world.

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