On International Women’s Day, Iceland became the first country in the world to force companies to prove they pay all employees the same regardless of gender, ethnicity, sexuality or nationality.
The country’s government announced a new law that will require every company with 25 or more staff to gain a certificate demonstrating pay equality. Iceland is not the first country to introduce a scheme like this – Switzerland has one, as does the US state of Minnesota.
This brings to light the concern with which we must address the issue of gender wage gap and so we did when we asked a few experts to share their opinions on the same.
Let’s start with Canon’s Shikha Rai (Vice President, HR, Canon India). She begins by stating that she has never had to confront any such treatment during her work in Canon, thereby inclining Canon to be among some of the progressive organization s in the country. Later she also assures us by saying that her organization does not in any way endorse it.
Having skimmed through various reports which support with evidence that wage difference because of gender exists, Ms Padma (VP-OD, L&D, Reliance Ada) brought to light the deficiencies the of ‘hiring processes’ today in various companies which interrogate women in a particularly, discomforting manner. Deliberate attempts are made to inquire whether the woman will stand fully committed to the organization despite her familial, maternal concerns. This is something Ms Padma felt needed further introspection.
Mamta Wasan’s (Senior VP, HR, Fidelity National Information Services) outright clarification that women dealing with maternal issues, that are working mothers, do not work the same as men explains why she calls for the emergence of a new and ‘different’ work model which is possible only when more women are on top, thereby bringing changes to the structures, functions and roles of people at work in general.
Similarly Rajiv Kapoor (Executive Director, UNO Minda) begins with confirming the presence of gender pay gap not only in India but internationally as well, and hopes adequate steps are taken to ameliorate the current situation.
So, gender based pay gap does exist! A lot of it, Sandeep Bidani (Partner-Consulting Services, Positive Momentum India) suggests, is driven by our own sub -conscious minds and our awareness of the quandary itself. He asserts that leaders do not consciously pay their women employees lesser than their male counterparts, but such differences exist as part of a legacy operating within the subconscious.
Murlidhar Shyamm (Sector Head HR – Airports at GMR Group) believes that in his organization women are more favorably paid because “they are key to our success.” Therefore, their organization understands what a women needs when facing maternal issues, satiating family needs and so on.
It is essential to, Ms Joyeeta (Executive Vice President Human Resources, Punj Lloyd Limited) says, utilize the pool of talent that women bring with themselves. This is why many companies, organizations have made this their agenda- to create a space of equality in work for men and women so that the many differences between the genders can be minimized to enhance overall productivity of the organization.
And lastly, Rishi Singla (Head, L&D, Keysight Technologies) begins with affirming the inequalities in gender wages, and holds it to be true as a “legacy.” What he seems to suggest to us in his interview is that pay difference owing to gender continues to exist due to the fact that it has been going on for so long – a “legacy issue.”
Having jotted down these expert views on the prevalence of gender pay gaps at work, we would like to invite you to share your views on the same, and suggest to us ways in which the current situation may be ameliorated.