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India – Women with more education face greater salary discrimination

04 November 2013

Women with no formal education earn more than their male counterparts. However, this trend reverses as the level of education increases for both genders, according to a recent study from the Indian Institute of Management, reports the Times of India

Women with a basic education; such as advances certificates or diplomas, earn on average -10% less than equally qualified men. The wage gap increases to -40% when women have attained a master’s degree.

The reason for this monetary discrimination lies in the perpetuating cultural perception that a woman’s primary responsibility is unpaid care work; such as looking after children and the family. This perception channels them into these types of care-giver roles. According to the Times of India, with no formal education, the average annual income of women surveyed was +12% more than for men for the same job.    

At the other end of the spectrum, when men and women compete for the same job the study revealed that in the majority of cases employers chose to recruit men over women. Even if a woman was to be selected for the position, she could earn as much as -40% less than a male employee.

The study attempts to rationalise the disparity by stating that women either decide not to accept a job which requires extensive on-the-job training or leave the job in order to pursue marriage or motherhood. Both of which impact on their earning potential.

Women, according to the survey, often take breaks in their careers, or opt for part-time jobs when they start a family. When these women return to the labour market for full-time work, they are often offered lower wages than their male counterparts.

The study commented: “Even those women who do not have children are not given any preference because they are categorised as potential mothers.” 

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