First International Equal Pay Day 2020 calls to end gender pay gap

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New Delhi (NVI): Under an initiative of the United Nations, today the world is observing its first-ever International Equal Pay Day, with an aim to highlight the importance of ending sexual discrimination in relation to gender pay gap which refers to the difference in earnings between men and women in paid employment.

On November 15, 2019, the UN General Assembly adopted a resolution proclaiming September 18 as International Equal Pay Day.

The resolution was introduced by the Equal Pay International Coalition (EPIC), with the support of Canada, Australia, Germany, Panama, New Zealand, South Africa and Switzerland.

EPIC is led by the International Labour Organization, UN Women and partners. Its goal is to achieve equal pay for women.

The day is intended to promote further action towards the achievement of equal pay for work of equal value.

It is estimated that the gender pay gap is 23 per cent globally. According to Statistics Canada, on average, full-time working women in Canada earn 32 per cent less than men. This gap is wider for Indigenous women (35%), women with a disability (46%), and racialized women (33%). This gender pay gap is a major contributor to women’s poverty.

Women are paid less than men across the world. In India, women earn 19 per cent less than men, according to a survey conducted by Monster Salary Index.

It is imperative that we reflect upon this figure as it exposes the injustice meted out to nearly half of the Indian population.

Equal pay for equal work is a human right to which all women are entitled. As a society, it should be ensured that nobody is left behind due to discrimination.

The COVID-19 pandemic has also had a gendered impact. Women disproportionally represent those in low-wage jobs and consequently are most at risk. This again displays the need for pay equity.

To recognize the first International Equal Pay Day, the Equal Pay International Coalition is hosting a virtual global Call to Action — Building back a better future of work by ensuring pay equity. The Call to Action is encouraging all labour market actors to take the necessary steps to ensure that equal pay is at the heart of recovery efforts worldwide.