Women’s participation in the Indian labour market is not only low but they are also engaged in low-productivity and low-paying jobs. Further, the labour market is segmented by gender, type of employment, sector and location of residence. This study makes an important contribution by examining gender wage gap in India across different segments of the labour market over the wage distribution using national-level representative data spanning the period 1983 to 2012. The empirical results suggest that (i) the male–female raw wage gap has declined over time across the wage distribution, (ii) the gender wage gap attributable to differing returns to characteristics has increased over time and there is evidence of convergence of productive characteristics of men and women, (iii) sticky floor rather than glass ceiling phenomenon is observed in all segments of the labour market and (iv) the adjusted wage gap suggests that women at the bottom of the distribution face higher discrimination than those at the top and this has increased over the years. © 2016 Taylor & Francis.