“Women have been treated like second-class people, no matter where in the world we go,” – Priyanka Chopra.
In the Modern Age of the 21st century, the disparity between men and women is expanding. The gender gap in terms of opportunities, employment, and salary is widening by the day.
As per SMI, before 2020 in India, Only 18 per cent of women were employed as compared to 75 per cent of men. The reasons that make the difference widen are:
- Restrictive Social Norms
- Lack of good jobs and safe Environment
- Cannot migrate for a job as men
- Sexual Harassment at Workplaces
- The burden of Household work
- Pandemic has intensified the situation – 47 per cent of employed women lost jobs during the lockdown, had not returned to work, as compared to the 7 per cent of employed men.
As per International Labour Organisation (ILO), the Gender wage gap is highest in India, women are paid 34 per cent less than men. Furthermore, 75 per cent of women globally perform unpaid work.
Many political parties like Tamil Nadu’s Makkal Needhi Maiam (MNM) in electoral campaigns, promised to recognise ‘Homemaker’ as a salaried Profession.
As per the All India Time Use Survey 2019:
- 81 per cent of females (above age 6 years)
- 26 per cent of males
participate in Unpaid Domestic work with Females working for 299 minutes and males working for 97 minutes. Men are paid double for doing the same work as Women.
As per Feminist Economist Diane Elson, Public Policy should focus on reducing the gender gap in unpaid domestic and care work through 3Rs:
Incentivize men for domestic work which will decrease the unpaid domestic gap.
Proper Education, Stopping Stereotypes in society and Equal Pay must be enshrined in the Constitution of India. We need the participation of women as much as men for the development of the nation at the economic and social level.
The government must:
– Setup self-help groups promoting PPE (Personal Protective Equipments)
– There should be COVID-19 allowances for ASHA and USHA workers.
There should be proper implementation of ‘Vishaka Guidelines‘ in every workplace.
Women must be supported with the availability of work and alleviated with some of their household burdens. The expansion of MNREGA must be put into effort targeting both men and women.
We need to implement an urban employment guarantee for women, as well as state-level efforts to make it easier for women to find work. The COVID-19 Pandemic has demonstrated the importance of proper public spending on social infrastructure.
The National Employment Policy, which is presently being developed, must address the barriers to women’s involvement in the workforce in a systematic manner.