Condition of women in real estate, the gender-equity farce
13th Jan, 2023
Highlighting gender inequality, a recent report shows that informal women workers in ‘Indian construction and real estate sector’ earn 30-40 per cent less than male workers.
Highlights of the report:
- Report: 'Pink Collar Skilling: Unleashing the Women's Power in the Real Estate Sector'.
- Released by: Consulting firm Primus Partners and World Trade Centre.
- Key points:
- Of the total people employed in this industry only 12 per centare women.
- Stark difference: In the domestic construction and real estate sector, which employs 57 million workers, 50 million of the people employed are men, and only 7 million are women.
- Wage inequality: The informal women workersengaged in construction in India earn 30-40 per cent less than their male counterparts.
- In India, 47.6 per cent of licensed architects are women, with a gender pay gap of 15 per cent in the field.
- Question on dominancy: India has only 2 per cent of women executivesin construction companies against the UK's 14 per cent and the US's 7 per cent.
- In the real estate sector, there are a negligible number of women in managerial roles. Only 1-2 per cent of women reach top-level management positionsin this industry.
- Engagement in unskilled work:Women are mainly employed in the lowest paying and most hazardous tasks (like lifting heavy loads), including brick kiln workers, quarry workers, slab pouring, stone shaping, load carriers, and assistants.
- Less paid for more risky work: The jobs which are labour intensive, cause health hazards and are not well paying are preferred for women.
- More time spent on unpaid work: As per reports, women spend almost twice as much time providing unpaid care work such as cleaning, cooking, providing care to the elderly, fetching water, childcare, etc.
- Labour Market scarring- It is a concept used by ‘Global Gender Gap Report 2021’in which temporary limitation of in-person work has caused permanent and long-lasting effects on women’s chances at decent employment in future.
The gender pay gap in India:
- Gender inequality is one of the oldest and most pervasive forms of inequality in the world and as a result, the social and economic impacts of the COVID-19 pandemic have been far from gender-neutral.
- As per Inequality Report 2022, while women represent about 50 per cent of the population, they earn only about one-third of the labour income for it.
- WEF’s Global Gender Gap Report 2021places India amongst the countries with the largest Gender Gaps in Economic participation and opportunity.
- Female Labour Force Participation Rate (LFPR) has declined from 27 % in 2010 to 22 % in 2020.
- Though ‘women’ come from varying socio-economic, cultural, and geographical backgrounds, the pandemic disrupted an already skewed ratio in educational opportunities, access to finance, wage disparities, and other social constraints for them demographically.
Challenges in bridging gender inequality:
Though there is a need to bridge gender inequality, there are several challenges that act as restraints in this direction. Some factors are deeply rooted in Indian society and many are recent challenges. These can be seen as-
- Social challenges-
- Social norm of gendered differentiation of labour: Women are trained in care activities and cooking skills whereas men are trained in economic activities. They are considered subordinate to men due to the patriarchal nature of Indian society.
- “Double burden” of paid and unpaid labour: The conundrum of unpaid care work is only increasing in India given the shrinking family sizes and resulting time poverty faced disproportionately by women.
- Dependency: Most women are socially and economically dependent on men.
- Economic challenges-
- Lack of social protection: Most women are offered work in the informal sector, which categorically provides no protection from labour laws, or social benefits like pension paid sick leave or maternity leave.
- Other factors: Harassment, violence and income difference
- Political reasons-
- Lack of political intention in bridging gender inequality
- Lack of regular evaluation of laws, rules and schemes.
- Less awareness among women about government schemes and measures.