A Socio- economic Analysis on the Gender Wage Gap Among Agricultural Laborers in Rural Sri Lanka

Upali Pannilage


This study has examined the salience of a gender wage gap in a developing country context, through an empirical study of differentials in wages across women and men in the informal agricultural sector of dry zone of Southern Sri Lanka. The study also explores the possible gap, root causes and relative impacts of the pay gap on labour household during three year period of 2011- 2013. An interview assisted questionnaire survey was conducted to collect primary data from a sample of 102 daily labours.  Three broad areas were examined using various methodological approaches to analyse the data: gender differences in daily wages, possible explanations for the gender wage gap, and impact of gender wage gap on the standard of living in labour households. The study found that there is a considerable gender wage gap in the Southern Sri Lanka. Differences in the gap are visible across study locations and the gap has narrowed in the recent past. Social factors such as the undervaluation of women’s work are the main explanatory factors of gender wage gap. One third of income poverty of a labour household can be explained through gender wage gap and it has negative effect on living standards of the people. 


Gender wage gap; Informal sector; Poverty; Sri Lanka; Women.

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