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Guts over Guns: Naga Women become torchbearers for Equal Remuneration Act

Author: Devinna Saroagi, Compliance Team

The Equal Remuneration Act, 1976 has been around in India for 43 years, gathering dust. However, women in India continue to battle the glass ceiling, when it comes to equal pay, equal promotion rights and a level playing field in recruitment.
Surprise! women in a remote Naga village have turned the Equal Remuneration Act on its head! The audacious women of Nagaland’s Phek district, in Chizami- concluded an eight-year battle with a heroic win against discriminatory pay scales. With this peaceful battle, they created Level “Paying” Fields for both men and women.
In the field of Agricultural Labour women are paid 22.4% less tan men and in the field of non-agricultural labour, they are paid 24.06% less than men. Thus, the win achieved by the women of Nagaland, isn’t an ordinary win. The state and its women have come to inspire other villages to demand equal pay for both men and women – a movement the country is in desperate need of.

The Objectives of the Equal Remunerations Act (1972) –
1. To pay equal remuneration to men and women workers
2. To prevent discrimination on the grounds of sex, against women in the matter of employment.
3. To provide increasing opportunities for women
4. To set up advisory committees to promote employment opportunities for women

COMPLIANCE TAKEAWAY – Equal Remuneration Act of 1976 not only provides women with a right to demand equal pay, but any inequality with respect to the recruitment process, job training, promotions and transfers within the organisation can also be challenged under this Act.

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