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Purple Clad protest: Women in Switzerland rise for equal pay

  • Category
    Society
  • Published
    27th Jun, 2019

Purple-clad protesters protested in Geneva, as women across the country went on strike for equal pay in Switzerland.

Context

Purple-clad protesters protested in Geneva, as women across the country went on strike for equal pay in Switzerland.

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  • Women poured into the streets to vent their frustration with persistent gender discrimination and wage gaps in the wealthy Alpine nation (Switzerland).
  • The strike comes nearly three decades after women held the country’s first nationwide strike for equal pay.
  • Pram marches, whistle concerts and giant picnics were planned around the country, with the day's events set to culminate in giant demonstrations in several cities. Tens of thousands of women dressed in purple filled the square in front of the government and parliament buildings in Bern.
  • Women in Switzerland on average still earn 20 percent less than men. And for men and women with equal qualifications, the wage gap remains nearly eight percent, according to the National Statistics Office.
  • Riding the wave of the global #MeToo movement, a new generation of women are attacking lingering discrimination, harassment, sexual abuse and wage inequality with renewed vigour. Strike was born out of frustration at a bid to change the law to impose more oversight over salary distribution, after a watered-down version passed through the Swiss parliament last year.
  • Switzerland was one of the last countries in Europe to grant women the right to vote, in 1971. Over the past three decades, women's rights advocates in Switzerland have made some gains. Abortion was legalised in 2002, and 2005 saw the introduction of 14 weeks of paid maternity leave.
  • But Switzerland still offers no paternity leave, and limited access to expensive daycare is seen as a major hindrance to women's integration into the labour market.

Gender Pay Gap

  • The gender pay gap or gender wage gap is the average difference between the remuneration for men and women who are working. Women are generally paid less than men. There are two distinct numbers regarding the pay gap: unadjusted versus adjusted pay gap. The latter takes into account differences in hours worked, occupations chosen, education and job experience.
  • The gender pay gap can be a problem from a public policy perspective even when the reason for the gap is entirely voluntary, because it reduces economic output and means that women are more likely to be dependent upon welfare payments, especially in old age.

Indian Scenario (Findings of Monster Salary Index survey, 2019)

  • Women in India earn 19% less than men, reflecting the high gender pay gap in the country and the gap has narrowed merely by 1% in 2018 from 20% a year ago.
  • Gender pay difference widening with higher skill level - while there is no gender pay gap in semi-skilled work, the gap touches 20% for skilled women and 30% for highly skilled occupations.
  • The gap increases with experience and is highest at 15% in favour of men for talent with 10 and more years of experience,
  • Nearly 60% working women in India surveyed feel discrimination at work and over one-third of the women feel that they are not easily considered for top management roles.
  • About 71% men and 66% women feel that gender parity needs to be a top priority for their organisations.
  • Sectoral analysis of the gender pay gap (GPG) showed that wage inequalities in favour of men are present in all the relevant sectors including IT/ITES services (26%); manufacturing (24%); healthcare, caring services and social work (21%). Financial services, banking and insurance is the only industry where men earn just 2% more.
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