Livelihoods in Covid Times: Gendered perils and new pathways in India

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Abstract

This piece argues that to understand the gendered impact of livelihood loss due to COVID-19, we must examine not only the direct effects on women’s earnings but also the indirect effects on intra-household dynamics and vulnerabilities, such as food insecurity, depletion of savings and assets, social isolation, and mobility loss. And these precarities and perils are faced not just by women who have lost paid jobs, but also by women who were unpaid workers on family enterprises which have been crippled. Moreover, women can be affected disproportionately not only by the erosion of their own livelihoods, but also by the loss of male jobs and return migration from cities to villages, leading to occupational crowding, extended domestic work, hunger, and even domestic violence. The success of women-centric groups in states such as Kerala, however, suggests that not all outcomes have been adverse. Drawing on telephone surveys and other emerging evidence on the pandemic in India, this piece examines the direct and indirect effects on women of livelihood losses by both genders, especially in poor households, as well as the lessons offered by women-led group approaches for charting new developmental pathways.
Original languageEnglish
JournalWorld Development
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 6 Jan 2021

Research Beacons, Institutes and Platforms

  • Global Development Institute

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