We tend to forget that in a lot of countries, it’s actually totally illegal for companies to mention a preference for a gender in a call for job applications.
New research published by the World Bank analysing 800,000 online job recruitment ads in India found that the online job market is a virtual pool party of sexism, in that these ads betrayed a neat reflection of the sexism in the companies themselves.
Researchers found that in Indian online job portals, companies mentioned an explicit preference for a gender, either male or female, in one third of all the job ads. Of these, 60 percent were targeted at men, and 40 percent were targeted at women. Naturally, they also found that if the ad targets women, they necessarily offer lower salaries to them in all professions but clerical positions. In fact, women across professions are on average offered a shocking 10 percent lower salary than men.
And this isn’t even a matter of demand and supply! Even in fields where organisations expressed a clear demand for women applicants, like “teaching, BPO, and service jobs”, the online ads targeting women still showed lower salaries than those targeted at men. There couldn’t be a clearer indicator of a devaluing women’s labour just because it is women’s labour. We’ve discussed how what’s traditionally understood to be “women’s work” is frequently dismissed and unskilled, but what about jobs where women’s labour is actually in demand? It just shows that it’s simply widely accepted practice to pay men more than women, and that companies can get away with paying women less and clearly expect women to work for less, even in fields that actually show a preference for them.