Unveiling India’s Wage Gap

Writer and Literary Consultant
4 min

Radha entered the living room and asked, “Didi, I heard about the 70-hour work week trend on the internet. Do you think Mr. Murthy would consider hiring us? I work close to 100 hours a week. I counted it for the whole of this week. See…”

Saying this she took out a paper from her purse and handed it over to me. Scribbled across were random numbers with dates which totalled up to 100.

Radha is the help we have hired to cook at our house. She cooks at many other hours along with ours to earn.


Millions of women like Radha in India and neighboring South Asian countries had a hectic week as they processed the statement of Mr. Narayan Murthy, founder of Infosys.

In one of his interviews, he suggested people consider working for 70 hours a week in their youth to succeed in life. This comment of his had garnered a lot of mixed reactions from all quarters of life.

So, why were women in India busy? They were busy calculating their working hours a week to understand what the whole fuss was about.

The Background

According to a study in 2015, Indians spend close to 13-14 hours a week cooking. The number is substantially high when compared to their global counterparts. The global average is 6.5 hours a week. This pattern can also be noticed in neighboring South Asian countries like Pakistan, Bangladesh, and Sri Lanka as they are largely based on the same socioeconomic habits.

It is important here to note, that the burden of cooking in most of the South Asian countries falls on women. Added to this, if a woman chooses to work, this adds 50-60 hours to her weekly working hours depending on what and where she works. We can add a few more hours to include commuting and other household activities outside the kitchen to get a humungous number.  Most of the work done by women is unpaid labor. 

In our cultural landscape, women have silently shouldered the burden of relentless toil for generations untold. From the bustling streets of Mumbai to the serene villages of rural Bengal, the hands of countless mothers, daughters, and sisters have contributed to nation-building, often laboring in obscurity for more hours than the sun itself dares to shine.


Yet, amidst the cacophony of daily life, their voices remain unheard, their sacrifices overlooked, their resilience taken for granted. As we peer through the veil of complacency, let us pause, let us reflect, and let us confront the uncomfortable truth that lies beneath the surface.

Incoming V/s Outgoing

When you look at India's workforce, a stark reality emerges: the glaring chasm of pay disparity disproportionately affects women, echoing across industries and sectors. It's an observation that cuts deep, revealing a systemic injustice that plagues our society. Despite shouldering dual roles with grace and resilience, women find themselves on the losing end of the wage spectrum, earning significantly less than their male counterparts for comparable work. 

This glaring inequity not only undermines the contributions of women but also perpetuates a cycle of economic disadvantage, making it a formidable barrier to gender equality. It's a sobering realization that demands attention and action, as we strive to create a future where every individual is valued and compensated fairly for their labor.

Light at the End of the Tunnel

When Mr. Murthy brought this discussion up, thousands of women had their hopes risen again. They were hoping against hope to finally get their due in society -to be paid fairly and be respected.

Amidst the shadows of disparity, there flickers a flame of hope as women aspire for equitable compensation in the workplace. This hope is not just a mere wish, but a resolute demand for justice and recognition of their worth. Women across the nation are rallying together, raising their voices against wage discrimination and advocating for equal pay for equal work. 

They refuse to accept the status quo and are actively pushing for policy reforms and institutional changes that prioritize fairness and gender parity in remuneration. Their collective efforts symbolize a beacon of progress, illuminating a path towards a future where every woman is compensated fairly, empowering them to thrive and contribute meaningfully to society.

To Conclude

The issue of pay disparity in India is not merely an economic concern but a matter of social justice and gender equality. It is imperative that as a nation, we recognize and address this systemic injustice. Women, comprising nearly half of our population, deserve more than just lip service; they deserve equal rights, equal opportunities, and equal pay. It is time for us to stand up and take notice, to advocate for policies that promote fairness and inclusivity in the workplace. 

By ensuring that women are paid commensurate with their skills and contributions, we not only uplift individuals but also uplift society as a whole. It's time to bridge the gap and pave the way for a future where every woman is valued, respected, and empowered to realize her full potential.

The article represents the views of the blogger and not those of LEED Initiative.