During April-June 2022, the time frame of the latest survey, female wage rates in rural India ranged from half to 93.7% of male wages in states and between half to 100.8% in cities.
compare these wages with NSSOThe 68th round report (July 2011 – June 2012) of the NCERT shows that for most states, the gender pay gap has widened in rural areas. Urban areas, on the other hand, have seen a narrowing of this gap in the last decade.
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Among the larger states, the gap is the highest for both rural and urban areas in Kerala. The average wage rate for rural men is Rs 842 per day, which is the highest in the country. Women workers in rural areas of the state are paid Rs 434 per day. While this is also the highest among large states, it accounts for only 51.5% of men’s wages.
Gender wage gap is highest in Kerala
Among major states, the wage gap between men and women for the same work is the highest in both rural and urban areas of Kerala. The average wage rate for rural men is Rs 842 per day, which is the highest in the country. Women workers in rural areas of the state are paid Rs 434 per day. While it is also the highest among larger states, it accounts for only 51.5% of men’s wages, according to the report, Women and Men in India 2022, released by the National Statistical Office.
Interestingly, the three states that have the highest daily wage rates for rural men – Kerala, Tamil Nadu and Andhra Pradesh – also have the largest gender wage gap. For all three, female wages average less than 60% of male wages.
Female rural wage rates were less than 70% of male workers in Uttar Pradesh, Assam, West Bengal, Maharashtra, Karnataka and Odisha.
Barring Karnataka, which has the highest male wage rate, daily wages are less than Rs 400 in the other five.
In four states – Haryana, Punjab, Himachal Pradesh and Rajasthan – the male wage rate is more than Rs 400 per day and the gender divide is the narrowest (female wages are more than 85% of male wages). Gujarat, Madhya Pradesh and Jharkhand also have a lower gender divide (female wages are at least 80% of male wages) but it is more a case of men being paid at a much lower rate than women getting fair wages .
For many states, urban areas show a similar pattern as higher wage rates for men widen the gender divide while states with lower wages narrow the divide. Once again, the gender gap in urban wages is highest in Kerala, which also had the highest wage rates for men. Karnataka and Tamil Nadu also have higher wage rates for men and a larger gender divide. In contrast, Gujarat, Odisha and Jharkhand have the lowest overall wage rates and this is the difference.
Like rural areas, the urban areas of Haryana, Rajasthan and Himachal Pradesh are exceptions – all with relatively higher overall wages as well as a relatively smaller wage gap between men and women. A 2011-12 comparison shows that in rural areas, the gender wage gap has widened in 11 of the 19 large states, with the gap widening by more than 10 percentage points in West Bengal, Gujarat and Chhattisgarh.