Women in India hit harder in employment due to pandemic

Out of those who could retain their jobs, about 83% of women workers in India faced a severe income drop, said Oxfam India.
By: | February 1, 2021

Women are likely to bear the brunt of job losses and more likely to work in informal work arrangements, observes a report by Oxfam India studying the impact of the pandemic on livelihoods. 

Out of those who could retain their jobs, about 83% of women workers faced a severe income drop, says the report, citing a survey by the Institute of Social Studies Trust. 

Meanwhile, 66% of respondents experienced an increase in unpaid care work, while 36% reported an increased burden of child and elderly care work during the period. 

The work-from-home culture has also blurred the lines between work and rest, it says, adding that women have been working longer hours while also managing the daily chores of a household, the educational needs of their children and care for all family members. 

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In April 2020, 17 million women lost their jobs, causing unemployment to rise 15% from the pre-lockdown period.  Oxfam India estimates the loss to India’s GDP due to the rise in unemployment for female employees at US$218 billion. 

Women who were employed before the lockdown are also 23.5% less likely to be reemployed in the post-lockdown phase compared to men, it says.