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Do you earn as much as your husband? According to a new global study of the difference in earnings between couples, the answer for most women is no. The study examined publicly available data from 45 countries across a four-decade period - from to - for the first global survey of intra-household gender inequality in wages.
But the household is often a place of great inequality, and we wanted to unpack that. The report describes the household as "a black box" because, Prof Swaminathan says, "we are not looking inside. But how would the picture change if we looked inside? It's well known that there is gender inequality in India in the labour force - there are fewer women in the workforce generally, and those who are are less likely to be in full time jobs.
Prof Swaminathan and Malghan wanted to assess the global picture, they said.
Is the distribution of work - and wealth within homes - equal? The researchers ranked countries on overall inequality and intra-household inequality. According to theirgender inequality persists across countries, over time, and across rich and poor households. Some of the reasons women earn less are universal. Men are culturally seen as breadwinners, while women are considered homemakers.
Many women take a break - or even leave paid work - after childbirth. The gender pay gap and unequal pay paying women less than men for the same work remain a reality in many parts of the world. And unpaid housework and caregiving still remain largely a woman's responsibility. According to an International Labour Organisation report fromglobally, women perform The report said that unpaid care work was "the main barrier preventing women from getting into, remaining and progressing in the labour force".
A woman's lower income can have consequences beyond the economic, the researchers say, affecting gender dynamics in the household and putting women at a disadvantage. So a wife earning a salary, bringing in hard cash into the family kitty enjoys a certain status. It enhances her agency and gives her a voice within the household," says Prof Swaminathan. The discrepancy also impacts long-term financial security, says Prof Malghan, as women have lower savings and wealth accumulation and access to reduced incomes in old age since pension policies are tied to earnings.
There have been movements for equal pay for equal work. All this has led to a shrinking of the gap. But despite the decline, current levels are still ificant and the gap, she says, must be closed further. Companies are not recruiting enough women who are being penalised for doing care work and unpaid housework.
So we have to ask: is women's work being acknowledged? Are there family-friendly and child-friendly policies? We also need better brought up men who will share the burden of the unpaid chores. It doesn't have to be this way. How India calculates value of women's housework. Pay gap between men and women fails to improve. Image source, Getty Images.
The reasons why women earn lower wages are universal. Pay gap between men and women fails to improve 'Prime minister, please make men share housework! In India, housework is mostly treated as the responsibility of women.
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