4 Ways to Eliminate Gender Wage Gap

4 Ways to Eliminate Gender Wage Gap

During an event in Washington, Google’s “people operations” chief – Laszlo Bock – made a noteworthy suggestion for fixing the gender wage gap problem. While he acknowledged that men tend to negotiate more than women when it comes to pay, he did not cite women’s non-negotiation as the reason for their lower salaries.

What he recommended instead is that big companies should try to set an example by determining the value of the work, instead of the candidate at the time of hiring. And the most striking statement he made in this regard was – Stop asking “What’s your salary history?” According to him, if companies defined pay scales as per the job’s market worth rather than past salaries, they would be less likely to propagate gender wage gap.

His suggestion is definitely something not just big, but one worthy of serious consideration. However, the battle for equal wages has been on for long and will require some concrete steps and a change in mindsets to be won. The article outlines 4 such ways to deal with the issue.

1. Making it Mandatory for Companies to Report on Pay Data
There are very few organizations where female employees are treated at par with males in terms of salaries, and this is a kind of voluntarily adopted practice. To ensure gender equity in every organization, the governments will have to make it mandatory for them to file reports on pay data. Such a check will make companies answerable for the disparities.

2. A Gender Wage Gap (Prevention) Act?
All liberal societies believe in and work for making the world free from any discrimination on grounds of religion, race, caste, creed, descent or sex. They do so with the help of laws. The question is do we need another law like Gender Wage Gap (Prevention) Act? In countries like the USA, such laws already exist and women empowerment groups are working on strengthening those laws further.

3. Obligation on Revealing Minimum Pay for a Job
Whether the employers use online job portals or any other medium to recruit candidates, it should be made compulsory for them to reveal the minimum salary being offered for the advertised vacancy. Secrecy around this subject makes it difficult for women employees to bargain for higher remuneration. In many cases, it is a taboo to ask other employees about their salary, and this allows the companies to continue being biased.

4. Changing the Mindset
The root cause of gender wage gap is undoubtedly the mindset which considers men to be better and stronger than women in all walks of life. Even when we do have examples like Sheryl Sandberg, Indra Nooyi, Kiran Mazumdar-Shaw, and Chanda Kochhar leading some of the most successful business houses, the reports show that only 36% of female employees get promoted to supervisory positions.

Another reason for not paying women at par with their male contemporaries is that they often do not work overtime, owing to their commitments to the family and children. It is absurd that caring for one’s kids becomes the reason for earning less. Surprisingly, some reports reveal that even unmarried women, most likely with no children, are also underpaid. Whereas, a married man is considered to be more responsible towards his job as he has a family to support, and hence, gets paid better.

These situations clearly suggest that we are dealing with a whole bunch of diverse and illogical mindsets, which need to change drastically. But this will take time and sincere efforts on multiple levels. Apart from introducing new laws to ensure transparency and equal pays for all, we will have to educate and sensitize people about gender issues. Government bodies, educational institutions, media agencies and every person on an individual level will have to work in this direction so that no woman is denied her fundamental right.

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