Initiative for What Works to Advance Women and Girls in the Economy (IWWAGE): August 2020
Advancing gender equality in a post COVID context: Gender sensitive policies to enhance food security and expand wage employment
The COVID-19 pandemic has affected all Indians, particularly vulnerable groups, including women and girls. If evidence from previous disasters and health crises is any indication, women will be disproportionately affected during this pandemic1. Within homes, women and girls who already do more than six times unpaid work than men, now shoulder added responsibilities of feeding and caring for children who are not going to schools as well as care work for the elderly, sick or disabled family members2.
Outside their homes, shrinking employment opportunities and the resultant loss in bargaining power has compounded the problems faced by women. The decline in decent work opportunities and loss of income can, among other things, lead to a loss of independence, agency, and undo several years of progress achieved through gender-responsive policies. Such losses may also make it more difficult for women to escape situations of domestic violence.3 The dangers faced by frontline workers, a majority of whom are women, is another source of worry created by the pandemic.