Analyzing Gender Disparities in Earnings and Work Hours: Insights from the Periodic Labour Force Surveys

Home   »  Analyzing Gender Disparities in Earnings and Work Hours: Insights from the Periodic Labour Force Surveys

October 26, 2023

Analyzing Gender Disparities in Earnings and Work Hours: Insights from the Periodic Labour Force Surveys

DOMR Archives - Civilsdaily


  • The Periodic Labour Force Surveys (PLFS) have provided a comprehensive view of the gender earnings gap in India from April-June 2019 to 2023. This latest iteration delves deeper into the intricacies of weekly hours worked, shedding light on a dimension of inequity that goes beyond total earnings. Drawing from Claudia Goldin’s influential research, this analysis highlights the disparities in employment and wages in India.

Examining Gender Earnings Disparities:

  • Building upon Claudia Goldin’s Nobel laureate work, this section uncovers India’s gender disparities in employment and wages. Earnings across various worker categories are transformed into weekly figures, revealing a nuanced view of the gender gap. Table 1 elucidates the ratio of weekly earnings between men and women at the national level, encompassing both rural and urban sectors.
  • Persistent Gender Gap: Across all forms of work, men consistently out-earn women. Notably, self-employed individuals face the most significant gender gap in 2023, with men earning 2.8 times more than their female counterparts. Regular male wage workers earn 24% more, while male casual workers earn 48% more than their female counterparts, highlighting the persistent challenge of the gender earnings gap.
  • Changing Trends: Interestingly, the gender gap has widened for self-employed workers but narrowed for regular wage workers, dropping from 34% in 2019 to 24% in 2023.

Analyzing Average Weekly Work Hours:

  • While the earnings gap provides valuable insights, disparities in earnings per unit of work offer a more comprehensive perspective. Table 2 illustrates that women consistently work fewer hours than men across various forms of employment.
  • Largest Gap for the Self-Employed: In 2023, men in self-employment worked 50% more hours than women, while the gap was smallest for regular wage workers (19%).
  • Rising Gender Gap in Hours Worked: The gender gap in hours worked has expanded, particularly for self-employed women. This indicates a rise in part-time employment among them, while male self-employed workers continue full-time work.

Diving Deeper into Hourly Earnings Gap:

Gender pay gap in the EU down to 13.0% - Products Eurostat ...

This section delves into the calculations of hourly earnings for each worker category, providing insights into the ratio between men and women’s hourly earnings. Table 3 presents these figures.

  • Significant Reduction in Regular Wage Workers’ Gap: In 2023, men in regular wage employment earned 24% more than women over the week, working 19% longer hours. The hourly earnings gap narrows to approximately 4%, down from 11% in 2019.
  • Hourly Earnings Parity in Regular Wage Work: On average, women in regular employment earn less per week but nearly match men when hourly earnings are considered. However, it’s important to note that these averages mask nuanced disparities across occupations and industries.
  • Higher Inequality in Other Employment Types: Inequality in hourly earnings is more pronounced in other work categories, though lower than when assessing total earnings. In 2023, male casual workers earned 23% more per hour than women, a reduction from 33% in 2019. Conversely, the self-employed category witnessed an increase in the hourly earnings gap from 84% in 2019 to 87% in 2023.

Factors Influencing Work Hours:

  • This section emphasizes that lower hourly earnings inequality for regular wage workers does not imply that women choose shorter work hours willingly. Societal barriers, such as expectations regarding domestic and childcare duties, may limit their employment options.


  • Addressing both remuneration disparities and disparities in total work hours is imperative. Policymakers should focus on removing barriers that curtail women’s working hours. This encompasses workplace interventions like mandating childcare facilities and extended maternity leaves, as well as broader societal transformations that challenge traditional gender norms and promote a more equitable sharing of childcare and domestic responsibilities.

Get In Touch

B-36, Sector-C, Aliganj – Near Aliganj, Post Office Lucknow – 226024 (U.P.) India

+91 8858209990, +91 9415011892


Subscribe now for latest updates.

Follow Us

© All Rights Reserved.

Analyzing Gender Disparities in Earnings and Work Hours: Insights from the Periodic Labour Force Surveys | Vaid ICS Institute