COVID-19 threatens to roll back gains in women’s economic opportunities, widening gender gaps that persist despite 30 years of progress. While this is certainly a global phenomenon, India’s task is far more daunting than many others.
An Indian Express report says that the share of women in terms of days of work, under the NREGA scheme has crashed to an eight-year low. With a bigger rush for work in rural India, the women have simply been elbowed out.
The ILO, in Rapid Assessment of the Impact of the COVID-19 crisis on Employment, has warned that ‘those who are most likely to lose their work and incomes are casual workers and the self-employed’. Based on 2020 population figures, the ILO report has found that three-quarters of employment in India is non-regular.
ILO’s warning is that women are more likely than men to be in non-regular employment. Therefore, women have or are likely to experience a greater loss of employment than men.
So what’s happening in those pockets, where women are trying to earn an income in the rural and peri-urban space? The Wire‘s Mitali Mukherjee speaks with Neelam Chibber, co-founder and managing trustee of Industry Foundation, an organisation that works with communities to skill women for more.