It is very evident that COVID-19 has had an adverse impact on financial stability and livelihoods of people around the world. In India, three out of four people are experiencing their first recession. The COVID impact on employment has been unprecedented. Unfortunately, it’s impacted women more adversely than men. Various industries like services, tourism, hospitality, etc have been a drastically hit and almost every sector is dealing with economic instability.
Even times of financial instability which affect every person tend to be sexist in nature. Statistical and empirical evidences have showed time and again that women are doubly disadvantaged in financial crises of any level. Another report to substantiate this statement has been recently published by The Initiative for What Works to Advance Women and Girls in the Economy (IWWAGE).
The group published a report Women in Work: How India Fared in 2020 which showed how the COVID-19 pandemic has affected women and girls relatively more than men in terms of employment and financial stability. Here are 10 key findings from the report:
- The labour participation rate seems to have been affected the most during the span May-August in 2020. This was observed in both urban and rural areas of the country.
- The report further highlights that the share of women in the labour force is extremely low in urban areas, accounting to around 10.3 per cent.
- This shows that around 90 per cent of women, aged 15 or more in urban India are neither employed nor are they actively looking for employment opportunities. The pandemic has worsened the condition of ‘women in work’.
- Nearly 71 per cent of women in urban areas and 58 per cent of women in rural areas reportedly had no written job contract. Furthermore, over half of the salaried women workers across rural and urban areas were not allowed paid leaves or any social security benefits.
- Evidently, most of the women were engaged in informal sector of the Indian economy. It is easier to track the economic status of women engaged in formal sector; however, the majority of India’s female workforce is in the informal sector.
- Women entrepreneurs are able to dedicate only 5.8 hours a day on average to their home-based businesses. This is also irregularly interrupted by approximately 6.6 hours of unpaid care-giving work and household chores.
- The COVID impact on employment has been severe. Nearly 79 per cent of the women entrepreneurs said that they witnessed a drastic slump in sales, customer footfall and earnings in their business ventures. Some of this has led to rethink and reworking of employment decisions.
- When shift of work to digital space is at an all-time high, a huge gender gap exists when it comes to access of mobile phones and internet in the country. The technological divide is also biased against women in India.
- There is 20 per cent of gender gap in the mobile ownership in India, with 79 per cent of men owning a mobile, compared to 63 per cent of women.
- Meanwhile, the gender gap is much wider in terms of mobile internet usage, as 42 per cent of men have access to the internet on mobiles, as opposed to 21 per cent of women.
COVID Impact on Employment: 79 per cent of the women entrepreneurs said that they witnessed a drastic slump in sales, customer footfall and earnings in their business ventures.