RUKUM, March 8: Dhansari Sarki of Banfikot Rural Municipality-6 in Rukum (West) is currently working at an under-construction hydropower project in her village. She reaches the working field as early as 9 am and works until 5 pm along with her co-workers. After working all day long, she earns Rs 500 a day.
Interestingly, Ramesh Kami of the same village earns Rs 700 per day for the same work. Dhansari laments that there is a gender-based discrimination in wage distribution. "We both do the same work, but do not receive the same wage," said Dhansara, adding, "Despite putting equal efforts, we female workers are paid Rs 500 a day while the males receive Rs 700 for the same work."Various awareness campaigns have been organized in the district to raise voice against the gender-based wage distribution but to no avail. Women workers complain that they have to deal with such discrimination everywhere. Sangita KC of Banfikot Rural Municipality-7 said, "We work as hard as men and sometimes even more than them. Sadly, we get less for the same work because we are women."
It is not as if the women have not exerted pressure on the construction companies and entrepreneurs for an equal wage, but they have not be been heard. According to Sangita, males always manage time for breaks and refreshments but female workers are always dedicated to their work.
"We don't even have time for breaks, yet we are paid less," said Sangita, adding, "How long will we deal with this discrimination?' Construction entrepreneurs on the other hand say the payment may have varied in terms of work and time instead of gender. Construction entrepreneur Jitendra Budhathoki stated that the wage distribution varies based on work instead of gender.
"I don't think, the pay gap is because of gender. It could be because of the work," said Budhathoki. Though the local governments fix a certain payment for all workers, it is hardly implemented. Manakala Pun, vice-chairperson of Banfikot Rural Municipality informed Republica that the policy formulated for by the local unit for workers is yet to be implemented.
"Women still are subjected to various kinds of discriminations," said Vice-chairperson Pun, adding, "So, it is very important for us to make sure that the policies formulated by the local governments are strictly implemented."Caption: Female workers busy at the under- construction hydropower project site.