"There is no tool for development more effective than the empowerment of women
Women are the headway to empower and strengthen the development of any State
while the patriarchy society thinks women to be extremely weak and incapable of
any hardship for which this misconception has been overwhelming the mindsets of
the people of the society from the time immemorial.
The presence of sexual
discrimination has innumerable variations where men are the superiors and have
potentiality and competency whereas women are seen as incapable and incompetent
compared to men so, the concept of Right to equal pay was focused under article
39(d) of The Indian constitution which means every woman should also be paid
equal to what men are getting paid in different commercial sectors and this
concept has been very important aspect for women empowerment.
The focus now
shifts on to the various National organizations that have noticed and claimed
that women are paid only 77percent of what men are getting paid. And so, to
eradicate this form of sexual discrimination various steps and movements have
been initiated which has slowly but changing the mindsets of the people in the
Equal pay for equal work is the concept that mentions about the labor rights as
how the individuals of any profession in the same workplace be given equal pay.
It is preliminarily used in the context of sexual discrimination, in relation to
the Gender Pay gap.
Gender Pay gap in India has been concerned with earnings between women and men
in the various paid employment and labor market, as it is conspicuous that women
have a frail and irregular reputation in the society from very ancient times
which still has grave impact now. We know that there are 4 main periods in
history namely the Ancient Period and early where women were treated equal to
men in terms of all aspects of life.
In Medieval period (700 and 1857) due to
involvement of various Muslim rules in this period various positions of women in
the society started to slowly change where people eventually invented or
discovered various evil practices like Jahaur, Hijab or Purdah System and it was
believed that women are not eligible to any hardship and they are to be kept
hidden from the other male member other than her husband to keep herself pious
so, earning and having equal status was yet very far gone concept.
British rule (AD 1857- 1947) many new evils of the society against women were
taken forward like the sati system, lack of education and lack of opportunities
for women to work though many reformers initiated to take a stand for women to
empower and encourage their existence.
While Post Independence (1947- present)
in initials of the independence it was hard for the leaders and the framers of
the Constitution of the state to control the position of India in every field,
but they never lost the sense of concern for the development of women in the
society. Later, women have served at the heads of the states and have started a
collective sense of importance to education and opportunities at various job
The female labour participation rate in India from 1901 to 1951 was between 28
and 34%, which is higher than the level of participation observed in 1990. This
rate can be varied from state to state and region to region as it was noticed
that women living in Northern India have low participation rates in terms of
working and jobs compared to Southern part of India where women are empowered.
And in the reports of 2013 the Gender pay Gap in India was estimated and
analysed to be 24.81%. More distinctly it was observed later that India was
bottomed at the least 10 in the list of female participation in the economy
around the globe.
In the modern world, we consider that the position of women has been a little
progressive, but the table is yet to turn, and women have miles to go to reach
the peak to prove their worth to the patriarchal society and the dim view of the
people around. The Indian constitution firstly and secondly the various National
organizations, protests, movements, and NGOs have initiated role of superheroes
with no capes who always come up to the rescue for women and take a stand for
their empowerment and fight against all the evils of the society discouraging
and underestimating women to reach the peak.
Many more measures, laws and
regulations have been initiated and inserted in the various rule books to
empower and encourage women to grow and to change their position in the society
and take a huge step towards development because empowering women and proper
establishment of equality among people are the features and a great initiative
towards development, development of the minds of the people will literally
affect the development of the society which will eventually hit the progress in
development of the State.
Laws supervising the pay incongruity in India
The constitution of India is the supreme law book which governs the whole of the
state, and no one is above it. And the framers of the constitution struggled a
lot to put up the perfect combos of all ingredients to a best constitution; many
ideas were taken up from different countries to mould it to make a perfect one.
So, while framing the framers have distinctly looked after the condition of
women and have introduced article 15 of the Constitution which prohibits
discrimination in the grounds of caste, sex, creed, religion, race, or
Article 15(3) which states that nothing shall prevent from making
laws for women and children this declares special provisions for women. And
Article 16 provides equal opportunity provide to all in the matters of public
employment irrespective of sex, caste, creed etc. To this, the 74th amendment
was made for the reservations of the women in the panchayat.
Article 19 states
that the citizens have freedom to carry any profession or job irrespective of
any caste, creed, or sex. Article 39 (d) talks about adequacy of securing means
of livelihood equally for both men and women, and to forward the concept of
equal pay for equal work among men and women and the principle of ILO
(International Labour Organization) was incorporated under this article.
In C.B. Muthamma vs. Union of India
(Air 1868 Scc 940 260) is stated that the
validity of Indian Foreign Service (Conduct and Discipline) Rules of 1961 was
challenged which stated a women employee or worker to take written permission
from the government before her marriage is duly performed and or any time after
her marriage the women worker had to resign from the service. However, this was
held unconstitutional by the Supreme Court because this was discriminatory
In the B. Shah vs. P.O.
in the [AIR 1978 SC12] case it was held that 100% wages
should be provided for all days of leave and benefits of Sunday and rest days as
wages were being paid for actual number of working days missed.
Air India vs. Nargesh Mirza
[AIR 1981 sc 1829] in this case the Supreme Court
struck down the rule of termination of work of an air hostess on her first
pregnancy as it is contrary to the rules of constitution.
Few Legislations introduced for women are Factories Act, 1948 was introduced for
labor's welfare, health, working hours and safety especially for women labors.
Many provisions are added for their benefit.
The 'Employees' State Insurance Act, 1948 is one of the most important social
legislations in India; the women workers get various kinds of benefits.
And then the Maternity Benefit Act, 1961 numbers of maternal benefits were given
to women during her pregnancy.
The most important Act, the Equal Remuneration Act, 1961, which proposes the
purpose of equal pay to equal work to both men and women at work. This act was
introduced because people in our society thought that women are physically weak
so they should get paid less, so to interrupt these kinds of mentality in the
society and to make sure no women is deprived of her rights.
Kishori Mohanlal Bakshi vs. Union of India
(1962) in this case the Supreme Court
declared that the principle of equal pay to equal work was declared incapable of
being brought into force in the court of law. Though later in the case of
Mackinnon Mackenzie Co. Ltd. vs. Audrey D'Costa and other
[AIR1987 SCC (2)469]
this case was about equal remuneration, The Supreme Court under this updated the
lower court's decision in regard with the respondent's support and stated
repulsion against the work of the female stenographers was different just
because they worked in different places and worked confidentially.
women work confidentially or not they are not deprived of their right to equal
remuneration and hence the court was in favour of the respondent stating women
are neither specially qualified to be confidential stenographer nor disqualified
based on sex to do the work assigned to the male stenographers. And even though
the women are appointed as confidential stenographers, they shall not be denied
equal remuneration under the Equal Remuneration Act of 1976.
Further, The Supreme Court has given a judgement based on The Equality Act, 2010
in the case of State of Punjab and Ors. v. Jagjit Singh and ors
where it was
held that any employee engaged for the same work cannot be paid less than
another who performs the same duties and responsibilities and certainly not in a
The concept of equal pay is governed under the Equality Act of 2010 which gives
a right to equal pay between women and men for equal amount of work done. This
covers every individual in the same employment and includes equality in pay and
all other contractual terms.
The provision in the Act states that the right of women and men to receive
equal pay for equal work applies to:
- all employees (including apprentices and those working from home),
whether on full-time, part-time, casual, or temporary contracts, regardless
of length of service,
- other workers (example: self-employed) whose contracts require personal
performance of the work.
The Contemporary Code on Wages
Based on the research and statistics, it is pertinent to note that pay disparity
is one of the major indicators of the issue on social injustice, which needs
immediate attention. India has also taken certain steps to curb the pay
disparity. Like recently, the Code on Wages, 2019 of India (Code on Wages) has
been notified and it received the Presidential assent on August 8, 2019. The
Code of Wages consolidates four national level labour laws on wages, being the
ERA, Minimum Wages Act, 1948, Payment of Wages Act, 1936 and Payment of Bonus
The first set of provisions of the Code of Wages relates to anti-discrimination,
prohibiting discrimination against employees on the ground of gender in matters
relating to payment of wages. The Code on Wages also prohibits discrimination
while recruiting any employee and in the conditions of employment, except in
cases where employment of women in such work is prohibited or restricted under
After the analysis it makes the picture quite clear that like a bird can't fly
with one wing only, similarly the country would not develop if the women were
left behind. Although India has certainly come a long way in addressing the
issue of pay equity, there is lots more to do. The principle of equal pay for
equal work needs to be strongly advocated and promoted by the government,
starting with itself! This should further be supported by strong wage policies
and strict implementation of the existing anti-disparity laws.
Since pay disparity is also noticed in India's massive unorganized sector, it is
imperative to conduct regular awareness programs among the workers enlightening
them about their rights. Additionally, efforts need to be made by the government
to formalize the unorganized / informal sector by framing of effective wage
policies applicable to them and implementation of the same.