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Wives still earn less than their husbands throughout universe: Global Study

A global study reveals that there is no country in the world where wives earn more than their husbands, thus indicating towards a gender inequality. The difference in earnings persists across all levels be it rich or poor. Women earn less than men- It is still a not good  reality.

The study of intra-household gender inequality in wages was conducted across 45 countries over a period from 1973 to 2016.

The researchers, Professor Hema Swaminathan and Professor Deepak Malghan, of the Centre for Public Policy, Indian Institute of Management in Bengaluru, conducted the survey and gathered data from 2.85 million households made up of heterosexual couples between the ages of 18 and 65 years.

The report describes that in India, gender inequality in labour force exists and there are a few women who go to work and they are less likely to be in full-time jobs. Highlighting the need to focus on the issue on the global level, Prof Swaminathan and Malghan said to BBC, "For instance, Nordic countries are held out as a beacon of hope for gender equality, but what is it like there? Is the distribution of work - and wealth within homes - equal?"

One of the main reasons why women earn less is that men are universally seen as breadwinners while women as homemakers. The gender pay gap remains culturally valid in many counties. Many women take a break or get paid leave after childbirth as care giving is considered to be women's responsibility. 

The report further stated that the main reason for women to not progress in the labor force is unpaid care work. There are consequences beyond economics because of a woman's lower-income that can affect gender dynamics in the household and put women at a disadvantage.

Prof Swaminathan told the BBC, "The wife's contribution as a homemaker is invisible, while cash is visible. So a wife earning a salary, bringing in hard cash into the family kitty enjoys a certain status. It enhances her agency and gives her a voice within the household."

He added, "Increased earnings increase her negotiation powers, give her a bargaining tool, even help her exit an abusive situation by giving her a fallback option."

Though the gender pay gap exists, a decline of 20 per cent has been observed between 1973 and 2016 in terms of intra-household inequality. Prof Swaminathan informed, "Across most parts of the world, economic development and growth has happened and women's participation in the labour force has increased." He further stated that some of the countries have introduced women-friendly policies that have narrowed the gap. Also, protests and movements demanding equal pay have resulted in shrinking of the gap.