The Gen­der Pay Gap

Business Today - - FROM THE EDITOR -

THERE ARE nu­mer­ous stud­ies which show that hav­ing more women in the work­places is good for busi­ness – not be­cause it is the po­lit­i­cally cor­rect thing to do in to­day’s era, but be­cause it is bet­ter for the bot­tom line. Two years ago, a study by EY and Peter­son In­sti­tute of the US, look­ing at 21,000 com­pa­nies in 91 coun­tries, showed that com­pa­nies with more women in their lead­er­ship teams had bet­ter bot­tom lines. Two McK­in­sey re­ports – one in 2015 “Why Di­ver­sity Mat­ters” and an­other in 2018 “De­liv­er­ing Through Di­ver­sity” – came to sim­i­lar con­clu­sions. Com­pa­nies with a higher num­ber of women in top man­age­ment ranks were more likely to out­per­form those with lower gen­der di­ver­sity in top rungs. And these are not the only ones – there have been mul­ti­ple other stud­ies, both sec­tor­spe­cific as well as coun­try-spe­cific, which have re­in­forced the find­ings.

But even while com­pa­nies and gov­ern­ments are try­ing to im­prove gen­der di­ver­sity at all lev­els – through both HR poli­cies and gov­ern­ment poli­cies – an­other is­sue is crop­ping up. This is about gen­der pay par­ity – or rather dis­par­ity – at all lev­els in the or­gan­i­sa­tions. It has be­come a bit of a cause célèbre in both the US and the UK. Sev­eral high-pro­file cases have been fought and are be­ing fought over gen­der pay dis­crim­i­na­tion.

And it is an is­sue in In­dia as well, though most of the se­nior women lead­ers we talked to wanted to speak off-the-record. But they pointed out that in many cases, there is both con­scious and un­con­scious bias that comes into play, es­pe­cially against women who have just mar­ried or have just had chil­dren and are com­ing back from ma­ter­nity leave.

Some­times, well in­ten­tioned laws play their own role. For ex­am­ple, the law on six months ma­ter­nity leave of­ten means that women com­ing back af­ter child birth get as­sessed for only six months, while their male col­leagues are as­sessed for the full year.

Our cover story in this year’s Most Pow­er­ful Women spe­cial is­sue takes a close look at the prob­lem and the pos­si­ble so­lu­tions. An­other ar­ti­cle looks at the prob­lems that women en­trepreneurs face, which their male coun­ter­parts do not have to deal with, when start­ing up a com­pany.

Of course, do not miss the pro­files of the fas­ci­nat­ing women lead­ers who make up our list of 30 Most Pow­er­ful Women in busi­ness and eco­nomics this year. And also the 16 women who have won our so­cial im­pact awards for their work at the grass­roots level.

pros­en­jit.datta@in­to­ @Pro­saicView

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