India’s Wage Gap Exists Even at the Highest Education Levels


Jun 6, 2018


Men and Women in 2017,” a new Government of India report, has found that women in India earn less than men, even if they have the same educational qualifications.

The gap is evident in both urban and rural areas, and across levels of education. As reported by FirstPost, Indian women with graduate degrees who live in urban areas get paid, on average, Rs. 690.68 per day. By contrast, men with graduate degrees in urban areas earn Rs. 902.45 per day; a difference of 30%. In agriculture, women who are not literate earn Rs. 88.2 per day on average, while men who are not literate earn Rs. 128.52 — 45% more.

In the few sectors where women are paid more than men, it’s by a much smaller difference. Construction in rural areas pays women, on average, Rs. 322.4 per day, while men receive Rs. 279.2 per day, or 13% less. And it should be noted that women do not earn more than men in rural construction at all levels of education, only overall; women who do not have at least a diploma or certificate earn less.

Notably, women entrepreneurs made up only 22% of all establishment owners in India, but were in even smaller proportion as workers, at only 18% percent. Only a quarter of all women are in the labor force, and this proportion is actually significantly worse in urban areas than it is in rural areas. Only 14.1% of urban women work, the report found, while 30.2% rural women do. In comparison, 73.3% of men work all over India, 67.1% and 75.7% in urban and rural areas respectively. The overall workforce participation rate is 50.5%, which includes transgender people.

The report also examined the gender inequality in India’s scheduled bank accounts, finding that only 32% of all bank accounts are owned by women, and that only 31% of the combined money in all bank accounts was owned by women. This difference was consistent across rural and urban areas. What’s more, the money women earn is not necessarily under their own control; multiple reports have found many Indian women are not managing their own finances.

These numbers are not surprising. A recent “Women and Work” global study found that India’s laws have a lot of catching up to do before women can experience a truly equal workplace. And in addition to the fact that Indian women are earning less than men at all levels of education, girls across the country have far less access to education than boys in the first place. This report only confirms what Indian women already know: We have a long way to go.


Written By Urvija Banerji

Urvija Banerji is the Features Editor at The Swaddle, and has previously written for Rolling Stone India and Atlas Obscura. When she’s not writing, she can be found in her kitchen, painting, cooking, picking fights online, and consuming large amounts of coffee (often concurrently).


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