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COVID-19 and Women’s Labour Crisis

April, 2021

A pandemic that translates itself into an economic crisis has the potential to push women out of the labour force through several mechanisms. An economic crisis creates pressure on governments to cut down on social sector expenditures which potentially increases the burden of unpaid care and household work for women. As a result, women’s time for engaging in productive work gets reduced, having a negative impact on their labour force participation.

The COVID-19 pandemic in India has had an unequal impact on women in a number of ways. In terms of economic opportunity, it has been seen that more women lost jobs compared to men and fewer have been able to rejoin labour force. This is in the context of gendered labour markets where female labour force participation has been low and declining. This paper presents an analysis of the situation of women’s employment pre-lockdown and some indications on what the impact of COVID-19 could be, based on microstudies and other literature available. Further, the adequacy of the social protection and employment generation programmes of the government that are specifically aimed at improving female labour force participation is assessed.

Resource Type Brief

Topics Gender, COVID-19,

Authors Sona Mitra, Dipa Sinha