Wage inequality on the basis of gender has been a serious issue around the globe. Women generally are seen earning less than men. The solution by many to this is to make it compulsory that all are paid equally. In other words, “Equal Pay for Equal Work”. But, is this system effective? The logic behind this system has been, if everyone gets equal pay, then equality is restored. But, this isn’t a system that should be supported if the nation wants to proceed towards a path of the liberal society. There are different reasons why this system is immoral and ineffective
Firstly, the reason why this system is immoral is because it forces the employer to pay his/her employees the way the system wants. This makes it difficult for private enterprises to manage their accounts and look for efficiency in their firms. This can affect output in the economy too. Secondly, this system increases discrimination. If a sexist person is the owner of the firm, then he will be preferring the men over the women because no matter who he chooses he will have to pay the same wage to both. The gender bias will rather increase. Thirdly, the will to work ends when the person gets the same in return as the other, despite being the one to do the most! This severely affects the stability of a firm’s economy. Fourthly, there will be groups created in the form of sex which will eventually conflict on this. So, the gap between the two genders will increase. Lastly, this system wrecks the competitive environment in the market.
Competition is very important in human society because, it’s competition that grants individual liberty to enter or exit from market. It’s competition that provides the best goods and services to consumers; it’s competition that actually makes people realize the value of resources, competition avoids a situation where a single group or individual is controlling. It’s competition that will actually bring equality in sexes/races, no market player would want to face losses and let his competitor overtake him, he/she will try to hire bests for effectivity and efficiency.
“Equal Pay for Equal Productivity” should be encouraged more than the former. Employees should be paid in proportion to the output they produce. It doesn’t matter whether the person is a man or a woman. The ones toiling over equality in wages of people should actually put effort into educating and enhancing the skills of those sections of society. A woman if she does a job at a lesser wage, can increase it by enhancing her skills and knowledge at the same firm, which can increase the scope of increment. Milton Friedman said “A society that puts equality before freedom will get neither. A society that puts freedom before equality will get a higher degree of both”. Not only do women need to be educated, but they need liberty too, liberty to do whatever they want as a career.
The initiative of Equal Pay for Equal Work will start with minimal government imposition. But seeing the flaws, the government will start imposing more and more measures which at every stage will lessen liberty in society. It needs to be understood that if a person is discriminating his/her employee on basis of religion, caste, gender etc. despite the employee high productivity share, then that person will have to face the consequences as he/she will lose a valuable employee who will move to competitor’s firm. No good businessman will let a valuable employee leave the firm just because he is a minority or for different reasons.
Different people have different interests and talents. Not every person can do the same work. We all are made in such a way that all are different, whether in race, intelligence, strength, preferences, etc. otherwise the world would’ve been a boring place to live. Imposing equal wages makes people pursue a job against their interests due to external pressure. But, if everyone is paid as a reward for their productivity, then they will pursue a job where they can do their best. Not only are their chances to succeed is more, but they will remain happy doing what they wanted to do pursue. Gender inequality is a problem, but the problem will be solved if women are ready to compete, which they surely are.
The problem isn’t just about wage equality laws, but it is about all components of the system that are trying to “make equality” among citizens. Equality is restored by natural processes; equality isn’t restored by any institution but by the people. It’s been more than 70 years since independence, but in the name of eradicating inequality in society we are actually increasing it.