Employment and Feminism

The Question

The second wave of feminism started in 1960s which was inspired by the Civil Rights Movement. Women of all the ages started to fight to secure a stronger role in American society. The second wave of feminism tried bringing equality in gender roles in workplace. The wave is still going on. Are women getting the same pay as men? Is a woman getting the same opportunities as their counterparts?


Women have always been involved in business in the world but their contributions and roles have been minimized and mostly overlooked. A survey conducted in 1924 found that women were willing to choose a career even if that demanded them living the possibility of getting married and eventually having a family.[1] The Equal Remuneration Act, 1976 was introduced in the year of 1976 with the aim of providing equal opportunities to male and female. The Directive Principles of State Policy in the Constitution of India, provides in Article 39 that all states should secure equal pay for equal work for both men and women. Also, to endure that men and women have the right to an adequate means of livelihood. But all this is in paper. We all our acquainted with the reality. We all know how in every industry man are preferred more. Except the teaching industry, which is considered preferably to be a female’s job. Though there re male teachers too but the industry is dominated by female. Be it the Bollywood or the Indian Arm, male is more demanded. Interestingly, the stats are changing now.


Taraji P. Henson told about the pay gap, “We all we got ladies! If we don’t support each other, who will? We have bad reputation in this industry…Diva, Div uhh Catty. When all we are doing is, when you call us “being difficult” is we are fighting for what we deserve. If I do a job just as well as a man, people tune in every week, they see me, they root for me just like they root for him. Why should my pay be less than his?”

Feminists help in taking action against Job Discrimination. Women are better off today, but still far away from being equal with men.[2] Conditions have definitely improved for women but the main face of any industry or organisation is still male. Recently in Europe, women demanded same rights as men at workplace. As they were not able to get it, they decided not to procreate. They kept on demanding their equality rights. They could not get it. As a result, they decided to work just like a man and not give birth to babies. The country’s population went down and eventually the government had to take steps.

The contradiction is that although more women are working still they are paid less than man. Sheryl Sandberg, COO of Facebook, said: “Women are not making it to the top of any profession in the world.” Even in 21st century, particularly in India jobs are still considered for man and woman have to do household chores.

Feminism wave has brought positive impacts. Now, more women are aware about their rights. Making women aware of their rights is a big achievement in itself. We first need to acquaint every one of their rights. Then only we can talk about achieving those. One of the case studies of Nicaragua articulated, “You no longer have to lower your head and wait for the man to tell you what to do; now we make our own decisions and share activities and responsibilities with our partners.”

One should know that this does not only happen when sexism or heterosexist happens. Gender is not only an issue at work for queers and women. We need to be explicit about this so that nobody is misguided by the word ‘feminism’.


Women Demand Equality

Women have to manage both the workplace and house. They were forced to take both wage and social productive labour, the second wave tried to change it. Second wave feminism tried to change it by focusing on the need for women to claim their rights in workplace and domestic place. In Movie industry, actresses always claim that they are paid less than their male co-actors. This issue was raised by some of the popular actresses. Gender wage gap is highest in India. Women are paid 34% less than men.[3] This disparity is worst when it comes to daily wagers. India is the country where women are paid most unequally as compared to men. Even if the qualification are same, Indian men get 30% more pay than women.[4] The statistics can make anyone weep. Also, the thing to worry about is that the same company ha no gender wage gap in UK or US but when it comes to India, there is a wage gap of 16.1%.

Why is the nation so different towards male and female? This is the question which needs to be addressed at the first place. Why s this not there in any party’s manifesto? We, Indians, are so alien to this concept. We are not demanding our rights. When the employer gets the same amount of work done from a female employee as to a male, then why can’t she get equal pay? Women should keep in mind the gender pay gap in mind. Men are paid Rs 242 every hour while women Rs 196 for every hour.[5]


#MeToo Wave

#MeToo was the new wave which started around last year in India. This wave helped to discover the hidden truth. This helped the women to gain courage and come with their ill experiences of harassment at workplace. India had (has) a tradition or the society is framed in such a way that women are condemned to speak about harassment issue publicly. The #MeToo movement was a new type of protest which helped to speak against the sexist rules. Ladies came up with their harassment issues at workplace, be it Bollywood or IT worker. This shows no industry is pure. One should know how to deal with issues. The #MeToo wave acted as a catalyst to raise the issue of gender wage gap. Waves like these are very important for society.


Feminism is not about ‘having it all’. It is about freeing women from the narrow lanes of gender roles which are fixed. We need to alleviate women by providing them equal wages as they are given the same responsibilities. When they have the same burden on shoulders, why not pay them equally?


Bibliography

Various internet articles were referred for this article –

1. Global Development, The Guardian on 29 September, 2014.

2. Gender Wage Gap, The Business Standard

3. Gender Pay Gap High in India, The Economic Times on 7th March 2019.


Footnotes:

[1] Stricker, Cookbooks and Lawbooks

[2] Nikki Van Der Gaag, Women are better off today, but still far from being equal with men, THE GUARDIAN (October 10, 2019, 10:52 pm), https://www.theguardian.com/global-development/2014/sep/29/women-better-off-far-from-equal-men

[3] Abhishek Waghmare, Gender Wage Gap Highest in India, BUSINESS STANDARD (October 10 , 2019, 11 :12 pm), https://www.business-standard.com/article/current-affairs/gender-wage-gap-highest-in-india-women-are-paid-30-less-than-men-ilo-118112701048_1.html

[4] Prachi Salve, Despite Same Qualification, Indian Men get 30% More Pay than Women, BUSINESS STANDARD (October 12 , 2019, 07:09 pm) , https://www.business-standard.com/article/current-affairs/despite-same-qualifications-indian-men-get-30-more-pay-than-women-118060500107_1.html

[5] Rica Bhattacharyya, Gender Pay Gap High in India , THE ECONOMIC TIMES ( October 12 , 2019 07:30 pm ) , https://economictimes.indiatimes.com/magazines/panache/gender-pay-gap-still-high-women-in-india-earn-19-pc-less-than-men-report/articleshow/68302223.cms


Submitted by,

Simran Sabharwal,

Year II, B.A.LL.B. (Hons.),

Rajiv Gandhi National University of Law, Punjab.


(Image used for representational purpose only. Image Courtesy: https://www.newslaundry.com/2018/10/14/metoo-is-great-for-feminism-but-should-not-become-a-moral-force )

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