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GENDER GAP IN JOB LOSSES CAUSED BY THE LOCKDOWN

Focus: GS-II Social Justice

Introduction

Employment in April 2020 was 70 per cent of the average in the preceding year, reason for which can be attributed to the COVID-19 Lockdown.

Research estimates that in the Covid-19 pandemic, women are likely to be more vulnerable to losing their jobs compared to men. (more than 30 million women face potential job cuts, compared to less than 15 million men).

Case for India

  • Between 2004-5 and 2017-18, while the male-female gaps in educational attainment have narrowed considerably. However, gaps in labour force participation have widened.
  • Female labour force participation rate has declined precipitously over the last 15 years till 2020.
This image has an empty alt attribute; its file name is Employment-rate-men-and-women.jpg

There are gender and caste disparities in the early lockdown-induced job losses:

  1. Women have suffered relatively more than men (rural women more than urban women)
  2. Dalits (Scheduled Castes) suffered relatively more than upper castes, specifically rural Dalits.

Estimation reveals that men are more likely to be employed overall and the drop in male employment is greater than female by more than 15%.

Male heads of household were greater than 10% more likely to be employed in post-lockdown phase as Women.

The caste differences are smaller than the gender differences.

Attached Stigma

  • While women and Dalits have suffered disproportionately more job losses, risky, hazardous and stigmatized jobs are exclusively their preserve.
  • All frontline health workers (ASHA, or Accredited Social Health Activists) are women; manual scavengers are exclusively Dalit.
  • Thus, for several women and Dalits, the choice seems to be between unemployment and jobs that put them at risk of disease and infection and make them targets of vicious stigma.

-Source: Indian Express

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September 2022
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