According to the LinkedIn Opportunity Index 2021, the covid-19 pandemic has hurt working women in India more than anywhere else in the world. They also face the strongest gender bias in the Asia-Pacific region as they fight for equal pay and opportunities.
The report is mostly about how women see opportunities and how the gap between men and women is making it harder for working women in India to move up in their careers during the pandemic.
When asked why they were unhappy with their chances to move up in their careers, 22% of working women in India said that their companies favor men at work, which is more than the average of 16% for the region. In India, 85% of working women say that their gender has kept them from getting a raise, a promotion, or a job offer. In the rest of the region, the average is 60%.
The report also shows how men and women have different ideas about the opportunities on the market. 37% of working women in India say they don’t get as many chances as men, while only 25% of working men agree. This difference in how people see things is also clear when people talk about equal pay. More women (37%) say they get paid less than men, while only 21% of men agree.
The report shows that more than seven in ten working women (71%) and working mothers (77%) think that caring for their families gets in the way of their careers.
About two-thirds of working women (63%) and working mothers (69%), who have family and home responsibilities, say they have been treated unfairly at work.
“Organizations need to rethink their diversity practises and give caregivers more flexibility if they want to get more women into the workforce. Ruchee Anand, director of talent and learning solutions for India at LinkedIn, said, “Reduced and flexible schedules, more sabbaticals, and new ways to learn and improve skills are important things that can help organisations hire and keep more women.”
For working women in India, job security is important, but they are putting more weight on the type of employer they choose, the recognition they will get for their work, and the skills they need for the job.
According to LinkedIn’s research, 50% of women want to work for companies that treat them equally, and 56% want to be recognised at work for what they do.
International Women’s Day began as a labour movement in 1908 in New York City. Gender inequality in the labour market is one area of concern that still poses a great challenge. It is not only participation in higher education but skills training relevant to the market demand is also necessary. Only 18 per cent of working women in India are employed as compared to 47 per cent men. Women are also under-represented in high-skill and well-paid jobs, such as those of professionals, technicians and associate professionals, compared to men (13 per cent).
The unemployment rate among young (15-29 years) women is significantly high (18 per cent) and greater than men (17 per cent). The trend shows a sizable increase in youth who are not in employment, education and training (NEET), among whom a large proportion is that of women. Gender inequality in the labour market is a reality, with the differences between the male and female population growing wider. Educational qualification or skill level is one of the most important factors contributing to inequality. Other factors such as social groups, income level or poverty and rural and urban location play a key role.
Right against workplace discrimination
Each and every Indian citizen has the right to equality. Article 16 (2) of the Indian Constitution states that no citizen may be subject to discrimination or be disqualified from holding public office or employment solely on the basis of their religion, race, caste, sex, descent, place of birth, or residence, or any combination of these factors. Since the rule of law is the foundation of the Indian Constitution and compliance with the rule of equality in public employment is one of its defining characteristics, the court cannot absolve itself from issuing an order that is in violation of articles 14 and 16.
The purpose of Indian labour laws is to clearly define the relationships between employers and employees. Indian labour laws are designed to protect the rights of workers.
Many states have loosened their labour laws in favour of employers and investors since the COVID-19 outbreak in an effort to draw in more foreign investment. The Indian labour laws could be broken as a result of this relaxation. We have discussed some significant labour laws and their provisions in this article.
- List of India’s most important labor laws
- The Trade Unions Act of 1926-
Trade unions are a very effective tool for protecting employee rights. Higher management can be forced to agree to these unions’ reasonable demands.
The Indian Constitution grants everyone the right “to form associations or unions” in Article 19(1)(c). The Trade Unions Act of 1926, as amended in 2001, contains guidelines for union leadership and general rights.
- The Payment of Wages Act of 1936-
This law ensures that employees receive their salaries and wages on time and without being subjected to any unauthorised deductions. Workers must receive payment in cash rather than in kind, according to Section 6 of the Wages Act of 1936.
- Industrial Disputes Act of 1947-
This law contains provisions for the just termination of long-term employees. According to this law, a worker who has been hired for more than a year can only be fired with the permission of the relevant government office or concerned authority.
Before a worker is fired, there must be good cause. A permanent employee can only be let go for demonstrable misconduct or a pattern of missing work.
- The 1948 Minimum Wages Act-
This law guarantees a minimum wage and salary to employees across all economic sectors. Governments at the state and federal levels have the authority to set wages based on the nature of the work and the area.
This salary may range from Rs. 143 to Rs. 1120 per day. The minimum wage may vary from one state to another.
For 2020–21, the MGNREGA’s average daily wage rate for unskilled work is expected to increase by 11%, from Rs. 182 to Rs. 202. A MGNREGA employee in Dadra and Nagar Haveli receives Rs 258 per day, compared to Rs 238 in Maharashtra and Rs 204 in West Bengal.
- The 1961 Maternity Benefits Act:
According to this law, pregnant employees are entitled to maternity leave and full pay even if they miss work. Female employees are granted a maximum of 12 weeks (84 days) of maternity leave under this law. This act must be implemented by all organised and unorganised offices with more than 10 employees. Therefore, this law safeguards the employment of female workers both during pregnancy and after delivery. 2017 saw the amendment of this law.
- The 2013 Sexual Harassment of Women at Workplace Act:
This law forbids any form of workplace sexual harassment against female employees. On December 9, 2013, this Act became effective.
- What qualifies as sexual harassment is:
- a) Displaying pornography
- b) An inquiry or demand for sexual favours
- c) Remarks with sexual overtones
- d) Physical interaction and flirtation
- e) Any other unwanted physical, verbal, or nonverbal sexual behavior.
- f) Lewd remark
All public, private, organised, and unorganised sectors with more than 10 employees are required to comply with this act. No matter their age or employment situation, all women are covered by this act. The vast majority of Indian employers did not apply this law.
Title II of the Civil Rights Act of 1964 in the United States forbids discrimination against individuals on specific grounds. Employers enforce equal employment opportunity policies in this regard and forbid discrimination on the basis of race, colour, sex, nationality, age, ancestry, marital status, disability, illness, genetic traits (of a family member), political affiliation, etc.
The United Kingdom’s 2010 equality act forbids discrimination and requires equal treatment in employment decisions as well as for private and public services, regardless of race, age, sex, religion, or disability.
The Scheduled Castes and Tribes (Prevention of Atrocities) Act of 1989 is a social justice-focused law that was passed to stop atrocities and other forms of discriminatory behaviour against members of the Scheduled Castes and Scheduled Tribes. This law states that no person may be used in any way that encourages or tries to encourage feelings of hostility, hatred, or ill will toward members of the scheduled caste and scheduled tribe, whether it be verbally, in writing, on signs or in visible representations.