Social Issues Current Affairs - 2019

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Gender wage gap highest in India, women are paid 34% less than men: ILO

According to Global Wage Report 2018-19 published by International Labour Organization (ILO), women are paid most unequally in India, compared to men, when it comes to hourly wages for labour. This gap in wages, known as gender wage gap is the highest among 73 countries studied in the report. The findings are based on data from 136 countries.

Highlights of report

On average, women are paid 34% less than men in India. Globally, on average, hourly wages of women are 16% less than those of men. Inequality is higher in monthly wages, with a gap of 22%. Overall, real wages grew just 1.8% globally (136 countries) in 2017.Women are paid higher hourly wages than men in Bangladesh. Gender wage gap highest in India, women are paid 30% less than men.

In most countries, women and men differ significantly in respect of working time – specifically, that part-time work is more prevalent among women than among men. The gender wage gap is visible even with women with higher levels of education. Emphasis needs to be placed on ensuring equal pay for women and men.

The gender wage gap has remained unchanged at 20% from 2016 to 2017. But in 2017, gender gap was accompanied by near-stagnation in wages. Real wage growth was lowest since 2008, the year of the financial crisis. In real terms (adjusted for price inflation), global wage growth declined to 1.8% in 2017, from 2.4% in 2016.

In advanced economies (G20), real wage growth declined from 0.9% in 2016 to 0.4% in 2017, meaning near stagnation. By contrast, in emerging economies and developing G20 countries, real wage growth dipped marginally from 4.9% in 2016 and 4.3% in 2017.

This global stagnation in real wages comes in line with global growth forecast, which was revised lower by International Monetary Fund (IMF) earlier. The slowdown in wages at level of hourly labour wages is in stark contrast with organised sector salaries.

International Labour Organization (ILO)

The ILO is United Nations agency dealing with labour issues, particularly international labour standards, social protection, and work opportunities for all. It was established in 1919 as an agency of the League of Nations and is headquartered in Geneva, Switzerland. India is a founder member of the ILO. At present, it has 187 members. The principal means of action in the ILO is the setting up of International standards in the form of Conventions, Recommendations and Protocol. So far, India has ratified 45 Conventions, out of which 42 are in force. Out of these 4 are Core or Fundamental or Conventions.

September 2018 will be observed National Nutrition Month

Union Ministry of Women and Child Development has announced to observe September 2018 as the National Nutrition Month to mark the country’s fight against malnutrition. The month-long intensive campaign will be undertaken with an aim of reaching every household with message of nutrition — ‘har ghar poshan tyohar’ (every house a celebration of nutrition).

National Nutrition Month

It will promote antenatal care, breastfeeding, fight anemia, convey messages about importance of nutrition for girls and right age of marriage, deliver messages about importance of growth monitoring and also promote hygiene and sanitation.  It will be jointly organised by NITI Ayog, Ministries of Women and Child Development (WCD), Health and Family Welfare, Panchayati Raj, Rural Development, Drinking Water and Sanitation, Housing and Urban Affairs, Human Resources Development (HRD), Information and Broadcasting, Consumer Affairs, Food and Public Distribution, Tribal Affairs, Minority Affairs and AYUSH.

Background

India has very high burden of malnutrition. According to National Family Health Survey-4 (NFHS-4), 38.% of India’s children aged less than 5 years are stunted (less height for their age), 21% are wasted (less weight for their height) and 35.7% are underweight. Between 2005-06 (when NFHS-3 was conducted) and 2015-16 (when NFHS-4 was conducted) the percentage of wasted children went up from 19.8% to 21% and percentage of severely wasted children went up from 6.4% to 7.5%. India also ranks low 100th out of 119 countries on 2017 Global Hunger Index (GHI) and was placed at high end of “serious” category in GHI severity scale, owing mainly to fact that one in every five children under age 5 is “wasted” (low weight for height). Government already has embarked on Rs 9000-crore to Poshan Abhiyan (National Nutrition Mission) to fight malnutrition. It was launched in March 2018. The mission targets to reduce stunting, under-nutrition, anaemia (among young children, women and adolescent girls) and reduce low birth weight. The target of mission is to bring down stunting among children up to age of six years from 38.4% to 25% by 2022.