Impacts of COVID-19 on women’s employment

Impacts of COVID-19 on women’s employment

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).

Way ahead

  • 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.

Conclusion

  • 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.

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