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Indian Economy

Gender Wage Gap

  • 29 Mar 2019
  • 5 min read
  • Oxfam India has recently released a report titled ‘Mind the Gap: The State of Employment in India.’ The report assesses gender disparities and role of social identities such as caste and class in employment in India.


  • Pay level: In 2015, 92%of women and 82 % of men were earning a monthly wage less than Rs.10,000, far below the Seventh Central Pay Commission (2013) recommendation of Rs.18,000 per month.
  • Wage Gap
    • Women on an average are paid 34% less than similarly qualified male workers for performing same tasks.
    • Based on National Sample Survey Office (2011-12) estimates, in nominal terms, women earning a regular salary were paid, on an average, Rs.105 and Rs. 123 less than male workers daily in urban and rural settings, respectively; corresponding figures for casual workers were estimated at Rs.72 and Rs. 47 for urban and rural workers.
  • Over-representation of women in unpaid care work: The report pointed out that if unpaid care and household activities are included in the NSSO’s definition of work, the Female Labour Force Participation Rate (FLFPR) in 2011-12 would rise from 20.5 % to 81.7%, more than that of men.
  • Divergences in FLFPR:
    • Caste Factor: Muslim women are concentrated in household manufacturing, Schedule Caste (SCs) in construction and services such as waste collection while non-SCs generally work in education and health services.
    • Education sector accounts for over 1 in 7 urban women workers.
    • 75% of rural women remain engaged in agriculture, where they are relegated to low-wage roles such as weeding, threshing and paddy transplantation.
    • Almost half (49.5%) of married women workers work in the same industry as their husbands.
    • There are more women workers in Southern and North-Eastern States, but number are still below international standards.
  • Causes behind inequality in employment in India:
    • Lack of quality jobs and wage disparity are key reasons behind inequality in the Indian labour market.
    • The burden of unpaid care work, and the continuing prevalence of other regressive social norms are also factors behind women’s low participation in the workforce.


  • Shifting development focus towards labour intensive sectors to create more jobs.
  • Growth in jobs must be inclusive and new jobs need to be secure with better work conditions, including social security benefits and the right to organise.
  • Substantially higher investments in health and education are required to improve productivity as these are the sectors which could be large employment generators in the future.

Oxfam India

  • Oxfam India is an arm of Oxfam International that is registered as ‘Non-profit’ under Section 8 of the Indian Companies Act, 2013. Its vision is to create an equal, just and sustainable society by empowering the underprivileged.

National Sample Survey Office (NSSO)

  • It is an office under Ministry of Statistics and Programme Implementation (MoSPI).
  • It is responsible for conduct of large scale sample surveys in diverse fields such as social,economic,industrial etc, on All India basis.
  • It has four divisions:
    • Survey Design and Research Division (SDRD): This Division, located at Kolkata, is responsible for technical planning of surveys, formulation of concepts and definitions, sampling design, designing of inquiry schedules, drawing up of tabulation plan, analysis and presentation of survey results.
    • Field Operations Division (FOD): The Division, with its headquarters at Delhi/Faridabad and a network of six Zonal Offices, 49 Regional Offices and 118 Sub-Regional Offices spread throughout the country, is responsible for the collection of primary data for the surveys undertaken by NSSO.
    • Data Processing Division (DPD): The Division, with its headquarters at Kolkata and 6 other Data Processing Centers at various places, is responsible for sample selection, software development, processing, validation and tabulation of the data collected through surveys.
    • Co-ordination & Publication Division (CPD): This Division, located at New Delhi, coordinates all the activities of different Divisions of NSSO. It also brings out the bi-annual journal of NSSO, titled “Sarvekshana”, and organizes National Seminars on the results of various Socio-economic surveys undertaken by NSSO.
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