Impacts of COVID-19 on women’s employment
Impacts of COVID-19 on women’s employment!
This editorial is based on the article “Women work more, earn less, and face greater health risks” published in ‘Hindustan Times’ dated 15/07/2021. It discusses the impacts of COVID-19 on women’s employment means the problems faced by women during and after the pandemic and the measures that can be taken to overcome the effects of the pandemic.
Women are the backbone of the society in times of crisis, although such disasters are more likely to have a more adverse effect on them. From this point of view Covid-19 Pandemic is no exception.
This has severely exacerbated already existing gender-related barriers, widening India’s gender gap in the workforce and impacting health-care workers and frontline workers, which include a growing number of women.
Without this, Dalberg; A comprehensive study on the socio-economic impacts of COVID-19 on women from low-income households has drawn attention to the multi-generational impact of factors such as poor nutritional status, lack of access to contraceptives and credit.
Impact on women
- Increase in female unemployment: Women were more affected than men in employment-related matters. Women accounted for only 24% of the workforce before the pandemic, but still accounted for 28% of the number of people who lost jobs during the pandemic.
- Food Insecurity Problems: The reduction in the income of women as well as their families led to a reduction in the food supply and affected women more than other family members.
- Reproductive health problems: Women’s health indicators also declined during the COVID pandemic as they were unable to afford contraception and menstrual products due to the pandemic.
- An estimated 16% (about 17 million) women had to stop using sanitary pads, and more than one out of every three married women became unable to use contraception.
- Unpaid Labour: Since Indian women already do almost three times more unpaid work than Indian men, some surveys show that there has been a 47% increase in unpaid labor for women and 41% in unpaid care work for them.
- Underprivileged / Neglected Groups: Women from historically disadvantaged/neglected groups (Muslims, migrants, single/abandoned/divorced) were more affected than other women.
- There was an increase in the number of single/abandoned/divorced women who had either limited or running out of food stocks. Similarly, the number of Muslim women losing income and livelihood also increased.
- The situation is likely to worsen at the grassroots level for women who are already victims of social discrimination (such as Dalit women and transgender groups).
- Expanding the Public Distribution System (PDS): There is a need to extend PDS to items other than food items as it is a far reaching distribution system. For example, through this distribution system, women’s access to sanitary pads for a short period of time can be radically changed.
- Combining free menstrual hygiene products with PDS will reduce women’s dependence on income for these essentials.
- Ideally, this step would complement national, state-level and district-level awareness campaigns on menstrual health and hygiene.
- Universalizing the benefits of schemes: Women should be listed on MGNREGA job cards so that the total number of man-days can be increased and the demand for employment opportunities for women can be met.
- already implemented Deendayal Antyodaya Yojana — National Rural Livelihoods Mission Through this self help groups The resilience of SHGs should be strengthened by focusing on their economic revival and their linkages with the market.
- Self-help groups can also provide technical and managerial training to help women develop the skills needed to run small businesses digitally.
- Inclusive Approach: new plan ‘One Nation One Ration Card’ To focus on inclusion of single/abandoned/divorced women in the society and to create social assistance programs for informal workers, especially domestic workers and informal workers.
- increase awareness: Government to strategically focus on contraceptive use Accredited Social Health Activists (ASHA), Mission Parivar Vikas and can give further impetus to its existing efforts through other schemes.
- According to the survey, one in three women believed that government welfare schemes and self-help groups played an important role in helping them deal with the pandemic.
- Thus, there is a need for universalization, intensification and expansion of government schemes and self-help group systems to help every woman come out of the bad effects of the pandemic as soon as possible.
- Investing right now in women’s issues can prove to be transformative towards the long-term recovery and health of our economy and society.