Gender Pay Gap in Pakistan

Gender pay gap in Pakistan and ILO convention. What gives rise to gender pay gap? what does pay equity law say? How can pay discrimination between man and woman be reduced?

What does the Pakistan Constitution say on gender pay equity?

Article-25 read with the Article-27 of the Constitution of the Islamic Republic of Pakistan protects the rights of equal remuneration for equal work. It would be appreciated that the 1961 Ordinance provides minimum wage for semi skilled and skilled workers while the 1969 Ordinance provides minimum wage for unskilled and Coal Mines Ordinance, 1960 provides for the minimum wages in coal mines. There is no distinction in male and female in relation to payment of wages.

The above mentioned equality clauses in the Constitution, however, do not stop the state to take special measures for protection of children and women. The Constitution also requires that no citizen may be discriminated against on the basis of “race, religion, caste, sex, residence or place of birth” for appointment in the public sector.

What are the laws on gender pay equity?

Wages/Pay is set in Private sector in accordance with one of the following three laws. The principle of pay equity is also followed under these laws.

  1. Pakistan Minimum Wages for Unskilled Workers Ordinance, 1969
  2. The Minimum Wages Ordinance, 1961
  3. Coal Mines (Fixation of Rate of Wages) Ordinance, 1960

The Provincial Governments have constituted Minimum Wages Boards under Section (3) of Minimum Wages Ordinance, 1961. Minimum Wages Board is a tripartite body comprising the representative of Government, Employers and Employees. The Board, upon reference to it by the Provincial Government, recommends to such government, the minimum rate of wages for all workers (whether men or women) as specified in the reference. The Provincial Government on the recommendation of the board fixes the Minimum Rate of Wages for all classes of workmen as provided in Section (6) of the Minimum Wages Ordinance, 1961.The Provincial Assembly specifies the minimum wages for unskilled though the Minimum Wage for Unskilled Workers Ordinance, 1969 from time to time. The Minimum Wages for Coal Mines Workers are fixed under the Coal Mines (Fixation of Rate of Wages) Ordinance, 1960.

How large is the gender pay gap in Pakistan?

According to a 2008 study by Ministry of Labor & Manpower and ILO, gender wage gap in Pakistan is around 33 percent and female workers earn 66% of male earnings.

It is argued that illiteracy, low and poor levels of education, lack of vocational & technical training for women add to the already high gender pay gap. Similarly, cultural and social norms affect career choices in the country.

However, research has shown that gender pay gap is smaller in the public sector when compared with the private sector.

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