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Women in construction, real estate sector earn less than males: Report

  • Published
    10th Jan, 2023

According to a report that highlights gender inequality, informal women workers in ‘Indian construction and real estate sector’ earn 30-40 per cent less than male workers.

Highlights of the report:

  • The report released was named 'Pink Collar Skilling: Unleashing the Women's Power in the Real Estate Sector'.
  • Released by: Consulting firm Primus Partners and World Trade Center.
  • Key points:
    • Of the total people employed in this industry only 12 per cent are women.
    • 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.
    • The informal women workers engaged in construction in India earn 30-40 per cent less than their male counterparts.
    • India has only 2 per cent of women executives in 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 positions in this industry.
    • In India, 47.6 per cent of licensed architects are women, with a gender pay gap of 15 per cent in the field.


  • Preferred to do 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.

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 2021 places 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.

Recent Findings regarding gender inequality-

Though gender inequality is an old phenomenon, the recent findings regarding gender inequality in India can be seen from the following points-

  • 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.
  • “State of Working India” report- According to the report, the imposition of lockdowns has disproportionately affected the feminised sectors, such as the care economy and the gig economy. Only 19 per cent of women were able to continue their employment while a vast 47 per cent faced a job loss permanently.
  • South Asia is hardest hit due to the prevailing social and cultural norms around women’s work, aggravated by several other factors.

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-
    • The social norm of gendered differentiation of labour, thus, makes it harder for women to enter and remain in the labour market. Women are trained in care activities and cooking skills whereas men are trained in economic activities.
    • The conundrum of unpaid care work is only increasing in India given the shrinking family sizes and resulting time poverty faced disproportionately by women.
    • Women are, thus, under the “double burden” of performing paid and unpaid labour
    • Women are considered subordinate to men due to the patriarchal nature of Indian society.
    • Most women are socially and economically dependent on men.
  • Economic challenges-
    • 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.
    • There also exists an income difference between men and women in almost every sector.
    • Factors such as harassment and violence in public spaces or during commutes to the workspace further affect working conditions for women.
    • The Deloitte Global Survey suggests LGBT+ women are much more likely to have experienced jokes of a sexual nature in the workplace.
  • Political reasons-
    • Lack of political intention in bridging gender inequality. For instance, the proposed laws for women's reservation in state and union legislatures are pending.
    • Despite the presence of the provision of gender budgeting, there is a lack of regular evaluation of laws, rules and schemes.
    • Less awareness among women about government schemes and measures.


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