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Equal Pay for Equal Work

The female population of Pakistan accounts for 50% of its total population. The Global Gender Gap Index Report 2022 reveals that Pakistan’s ranking for female economic participation and opportunity is 145 out of 156.

The principle of Equal Pay for Equal Work entails that individuals of both genders in the same work environment should receive the same remuneration for performing equivalent tasks. The positions in question may not necessarily be identical. However, they are required to possess a significant degree of similarity. Determining whether jobs are substantially equal is contingent upon the job content rather than job titles.

The ILO’s Global Wage Report 2018-19 has estimated the worldwide gender pay gap to be 16 percent concerning gender wage disparity. According to the report, the average hourly pay gap between men and women in Pakistan is 34%, more than double the average globally.

Pakistan also signed the ILO’s Convention 100, which is about gender discrimination in the workplace and has rules about how men and women should be paid equally for equal work, no matter who does it. However, in Pakistan, women face discrimination in the job market, and it limits their potential.

As per the Article 27 of the Constitution of Pakistan, “No citizen otherwise qualified for appointment in the service of Pakistan shall be discriminated against in respect of any such appointment on the ground only of race, religion, caste, sex, residence or place of birth.” The Constitution safeguards the entitlement of receiving fair compensation for comparable labor. However, implementing laws about women’s equal income rights in Pakistan must be more precise.

The Women (protection and Rights) Bill 2020 aims to protect women’s rights at work. In this way, they can have equal access to jobs, be free from discrimination based on gender, and be safe from the systematic undervaluing of work usually done in public and private groups in Pakistan. In addition, parliamentarians from different political parties presented the “Equal Scales of Salary and Allowances Bill, 2023,” in the National Assembly to abolish discrimination, exploitation, and unequal pay packages in government departments.

CREDP believes that the ‘Equal pay for Equal Work’ or the ‘Gender Wage Gap’ has been ignored by Pakistan’s federal and provincial governments for years. Besides the 2023 Bill, directly related to the gender wage gap, there is no other policy, law, or program initiated in the past about this issue in Pakistan. As women contribute to Pakistan’s economy, especially the informal sector, there should be legislation and programs regarding their right to equal wages for equal work. Remuneration Law is imperative to narrow the pay gap ratio in Pakistan. This legislation will ensure that all employees are paid fairly and without gender bias.