A+| A| A-

Women Locked and Down

Gendering the COVID-19 Pandemic

The COVID-19 crisis has affected Indian women differently. Due to the lack of autonomy and gender insensitive nature of the state’s response to the corona crisis, women are perceived as second class citizens. While the lockdown is not qualitatively a new experience for the women, even in critical times as it does not change boundaries or the nature of the public and the private spheres for them. Rather, it overburdens them, bereaves them of agency, and compromises their safety.

Disasters, natural calamities and pandemics do not necessarily have a uniform impact on various sections of society. We have experienced this repetitively during various crisis situations such as the 1991 cyclone in Bangladesh, the 2003 European heat wave, the 2004 Asian tsunami, the 2005 Hurricane Katrina and the 2005 Mumbai floods, for instance. Usually, the non-uniformity of impact is observed more in societies based on uneven foundations, like the Indian society, where the poo­rest and the weakest suffer the most for systemic reasons that gene­rate different vulnerabilities and unequal access in the first place.

The ongoing pandemic of COVID-19 provides a significant site to relearn the ­lesson, particularly so in the case of Indian women—employed or otherwise—who are presently suffering from a derailed and ­unsecured life basically due to their depen­dency on men in the patriarchal fold and their perceived status as secon­dary citizens in the eyes of the state. The International Labour Organization believes that women’s economic vulnerability to ­future disasters increases due to the lack of attention to gender equity in disaster interventions. The COVID-19 virus probably does not differentiate between male and female bodies for the purpose of infection; however, its sociopolitical impact does not remain gender neutral.

To read the full text Login

Get instant access

New 3 Month Subscription
to Digital Archives at

₹826for India

$50for overseas users

Updated On : 30th Apr, 2020

Comments

(-) Hide

EPW looks forward to your comments. Please note that comments are moderated as per our comments policy. They may take some time to appear. A comment, if suitable, may be selected for publication in the Letters pages of EPW.

C P Bhambri believed that the task of social science, like all other sciences, was to arrive at the truth on the basis of well-established facts....

The COVID-19 pandemic may affect the financing opportunities for innovation. The revenue loss induced by the pandemic is likely to divert the...

When the goods and services tax was introduced in July 2017, states were given a revenue guarantee of 14% per annum on their GST revenue over the...

India’s public health system has struggled to cope with the COVID-19 crisis. Even before the pandemic, India’s public health infrastructure was...

The National Education Policy, 2020 unveiled finally seeks to usher in major structural reforms in higher education. Among many measures,...

The COVID-19 pandemic and the resultant lockdown led to the closure of all markets in Manipur, including the Tribal Market Complex in Imphal East...

Coherent national strategies, backed by regional cooperation efforts, offer a way forward for economic recovery in South Asia, which is rapidly...

Sections 357 and 357-A of the Code of Criminal Procedure, 1973 lay down the procedure for granting compensation to the victims of crime. Under the...

The COVID-19 pandemic has provocatively challenged the extant paradigm of development whose theoretical underpinning is derived from the...

The first report of the Fifteenth Finance Commission has allayed many fears that arose after the notification of the terms of reference of the...

Back to Top