I had this conversation with a few of my friends the other day and I was surprised to know that most of them were in the belief that the wage gap between the two genders is something that doesn't exist in today's society. For all those who think that men and women are being paid the same amount of money for the same job, do know that gender wage gap is very much prevalent in today's society. The beginning problem is generally the opportunity gap that we see around us. Every economic disparity begins with education and it is not a myth that most women around the world are denied of educational rights and benefits.
According to the UNESCO, only 40% of countries around the world provide girls and boys with equal access to education. Of the world's 774 million illiterate adults, two third of them are women. The share of illiterate women has not changed for the past 20 years. Participation of girls in schools and colleges decreases as they progress through the education system. We still find a huge proportion of women married off after their higher secondary without leaving them a choice to either study further or to find a job.
Even now it's not rare to hear your friends saying things like," Why do you study so hard to earn? Just marry a rich guy, take care of the family and settle down in life", and every time I hear such comments I go through a really hard time explaining to them that working or studying after higher secondary is a choice for both genders, it isn't always necessary for a man to find a job in every family. So this essentially is the opportunity gap between the two genders and even if women happen to study further and obtain a high level job, the problem of wage gap ultimately sets in.
In 2017, women's gross hourly earnings were 16% less than men in the EU. According to the World Economic Forum, women around the globe earn on an average 12,000 dollars a year, as compared to 21,000 dollars for men. The worst part about this issue of wage gap is that only 61% of men and 83% of women believe it is true. The others are either in denial of this issue or are not well read about the reality around them.
Indian women as such spend 16 billion hours a day doing unpaid care work. Only 30.8% of women in India participate in the labour force while 79.7% men are involved in the labour force. India ranks 20th for being the worst country for female labour force participation, out of 187 countries. There are umpteen number of statistics that will tell you how women both in India and the outside world are not paid the same amount as their male counterparts.
If both men and women of your family are paid equally, then that's a great thing to be proud of but please do not assume that it is the same case for every family around you. This issue can be resolved only when more women understand the necessity of education and only when the notion of "Men are more capable of doing this job than women" changes. The chains of patriarchy are hard to break, but we could only try loosening them so that somewhere in the future, our combined efforts will ultimately shatter it.