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IWWAGE-ISI Briefs: Analysing the constraints to women’s economic participation in the context of pandemic

November, 2020

As a part of the project undertaken by Indian Statistical Institute (ISI) and IWWAGE, a set of four briefs have been developed to understand the challenges faced by women while engaging in remunerative economic activities. The briefs also evaluate the existing programmes with gender lens, that aim at unleashing women’s economic potential fully in India, and offers policy recommendations. As the pandemic and subsequent lockdowns have impacted women adversely, these briefs also assess the gendered experience of the crisis, on the lives and livelihoods of women, including their physical and emotional well-being.

Home production, technology and women’s time allocation

The gender gap in time use, especially related to cooking and fuel collection, constrains women’s participation in remunerative activities, while also disproportionately having higher adverse health impacts for women. More efficient technology for home production—in the form of LPG (liquefied petroleum gas) usage for cooking—may enable women to invest the time and effort saved in more productive activities and thus increase their wellbeing. This aims inducing households to switch to LPG for cooking, through information campaigns on the health benefits of clean fuels and the existing LPG subsidy. It builds on the Pradhan Mantri Ujjwala Yojana, which seeks to expand access to clean fuel among rural households.

Impact of COVID-19 on urban poor in industrial clusters: a gender lens

As work opportunities in agriculture shrink, the future lies in improving women’s access to jobs in manufacturing and services. It is therefore, important to understand the demand and supply factors that determine their participation in these sectors. The project seeks to examine the profile and background of women workers in contemporary industrial and urban landscapes—types of opportunities available, barriers to participation, and aspirations and expectations from industrial employment. It further aims to situate the findings within the context of existing policy and regulatory frameworks, and the implications they hold for women’s industrial employment, while also assessing the impact of the pandemic on the lives and livelihoods of women.

Nudging households to increase the usage of clean fuel

Air pollution is a grave public health concern and cooking with solid fuels is a major contributor, which also has a disproportionately adverse impact on women. In this project, based in Madhya Pradesh, villages were randomly assigned to a campaign by public health workers to either raise awareness about health effects of solid fuels and mitigation measures, or health awareness on the LPG subsidy programme, or a ‘control’ group in which no information is provided. In the ‘health only’ intervention, households become more likely to have a smoke outlet or a separate cooking room, indicating that financial constraints and design of public subsidy schemes are salient in inducing regular usage of clean fuel.

Women in agriculture: gendered impact of mechanisation on labour demand

The trend of mechanisation in agriculture, which increased exponentially since the 1990s, has had an adverse impact of farm employment, especially that of women. When the production process is sequential and the division of labour across complementary tasks is gendered— as is the case in agriculture— technological change can have a differential impact on women’s and men’s labour. By constructing a comprehensive database of multiple secondary data sources on farm employment, agricultural inputs, climate and socio-economic characteristics at the district level in India, this study explores various aspects of the gendered effects of technological change in agricultural production.

Resource Type Brief

Topics Gender, COVID-19,