Shadow Pandemic: Gender Equity, Minorities, Masculinities, and COVID-19

While the pandemic brought about the notion of “Stay home, Stay Safe,” and a focus on physical and mental health for the middle class, for communities living on the margins, the impact has to be judged in terms of loss of livelihoods and a reinforcement of social discrimination. Be it women, overburdened with housework and facing increasing domestic violence; the migrant labourers, now shunned by the cities, walking to their homes in villages miles away; or other marginalised communities such as persons with disabilities, Dalits, sex workers, tribal women, and transgender persons; their access to health, education and livelihood further deteriorated during the pandemic. Further, the pandemic tested the extremely vulnerable groups such as pregnant women with no access to hospital care, the elderly, homeless, and workers dependent on the informal economy. This set of papers seeks to highlight the effect of the pandemic on pre-existing social stigmas and the precariousness of livelihoods of communities living on the margins, even before the pandemic started.

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