Noting that the coronavirus pandemic has further deepened employment inequality between genders, Vice President M Venkaiah Naidu on Friday advised looking into the issues of representation and remuneration to empower women.
Flagging the issue of pay disparity at a virtual event organized by an industry body, Naidu noted that equal pay for equal work continues to be a basic demand that is still unfulfilled even in the most developed nations and in the highest strata of the corporate world.
He observed that the World Economic Forum's Global Gender Gap Report, 2020 points to a pay disparity of around 15 percent even in advanced economies and that no country has achieved gender parity in wages yet.
In this regard, the vice president said India should lead way in bridging the divide. Pointing at the issue of under-representation of women in the formal sector, Naidu remarked that the issue of breaking barriers doesn't stop at the lowest rungs.
"The glass ceiling stretches to the very top," he said, observing that there are only around 35 women CEOs in the Fortune 500 companies.
According to an official statement, he said every year, many women from all over India are making a mark with their accomplishments in diverse fields. He cited a report which said that India ranks third in the world for women working in senior management positions.
This signals a changing outlook of Indian businesses towards working women and positive tidings for the country's economy, he said.
Underscoring the importance of providing quality education to the girl child, the vice-president noted that girls in school are performing better than boys, but there is a gap in their enrolment in higher education.
He also observed that the pandemic has had a disproportionate impact on girl child's education. "We need to correct these disparities on a mission mode."
The vice president also reflected on the importance of empowering women politically, economically, and socially.
"Politically, we need to introduce adequate reservations for women in state legislatures and Parliament. Economically, we have to enable women to start businesses and cooperatives through schemes like Stand Up India.
"Socially, we need to ensure that women do not face any kind of discrimination and stringent action should be taken against those committing atrocities against women," Naidu said.