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Monday, Aug 19, 2019

Men earning more even as women drop out of India’s workforce

Despite varying levels of education and across industrial sectors, the wage gap between men and women persists.

india Updated: Dec 20, 2016 16:01 IST
Garima Garg
Garima Garg
Hindustan Times
Men earn more than women in India except for Andaman and Nicobar Islands and Dadra and Nagar Haveli.
Men earn more than women in India except for Andaman and Nicobar Islands and Dadra and Nagar Haveli. (Representative image/Getty Images)

Men in India earn Rs.112 more than women on average per day, as per a National Sample Survey Office (NSSO) 2015 report. While men earn Rs. 396 per day on average, women earn only a little over Rs. 284.


The report shows the average per day wages earned in rural and urban areas from July 2011 to June in 2012. Combining the data gives the average wage earned by a man or a woman in each state or union territory.

Men earn more everywhere in India except for Andaman and Nicobar Islands and Dadra and Nagar Haveli.

The wage gap shows up consistently across various sectors like electricity, agriculture and services and different educational levels among men and women.

The mining and quarrying sector throws up the starkest pay gaps. Even among educated workers in this sector, the gap persists. For instance, while an illiterate man living in a rural area will earn fifty rupees more than his female counterpart, an urban male graduate will earn almost a thousand rupees more.


The only sector where women are paid more than men is transport and storage even though the gains are almost marginal. Where an illiterate rural woman would earn sixty rupees more than her male counterpart, an urban graduate in the field would earn barely ten rupees more.

“Women in India are over-represented in low paying jobs and under-represented in high paying jobs,” says Xavier Estupinan, Wage Specialist at International Labour Organization (ILO). Estupinan believes that such an uneven representation of women in workforce is one of the reasons for the wage gap.

In the Employment and Unemployment Survey by the NSSO in 2011, it was found in 2004, one in three rural workers was a woman. By 2009, one in four such workers was a woman. Experts have argued that for India to grow, it will have to bring more women to the workforce.

As per ILO data, an urban Indian woman earned Rs. 125 per day in 1993. At the same time, her male counterpart earned almost 160 rupees. By 2012, he was earning 270 rupees while the woman earned more than 200 rupees.

While the declining workforce participation of women is still a concern, Estupinan says that the wage gap shrinking now as women are better educated and aware of their rights at workplace.

First Published: Dec 20, 2016 16:01 IST

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