ISSN (Print) - 0012-9976 | ISSN (Online) - 2349-8846

COVID and GenderSubscribe to COVID and Gender

Morality and Mortality

The COVID-19 pandemic and its concomitant socio-economic shocks have severely affected the lives of sex workers and members of the transgender community. This article examines how the visibility of such sexual minorities in public spaces has been perceived as a threat to public decency and morality. It highlights the exclusionary pressures they face from the state and community, which have been exacerbated by COVID-19. Overcrowded housing, financial precarity, and a reduction in demand for their services place them at higher risk of infection and starvation, while political and social exclusion restricts their access to government services.

An Ongoing Pandemic

Domestic violence is widespread and deep-rooted in India and its ubiquity was highlighted prominently during the COVID-19 lockdown. This paper explores the impact of the COVID-19 lockdown on domestic violence on women, the shifts in forms and intensity of this violence, and women’s responses through an analysis of cases of survivors that Swayam (a feminist organisation, headed by the author, working on the issue of violence against women in Kolkata) dealt with in the first half of 2020. It also evaluates the response of state agencies and the challenges faced and strategies used by civil society organisations, which, for years, have been active in working at providing and ensuring survivors’ access to support services.

The Macro Frames of Microwork

Based on a qualitative study of women microworkers on Amazon Mechanical Turk, this paper explores the gendered modus operandi of global platform capitalism. For women from households negotiating caste and class status in small-town South India, digital labour platforms like AMT are the optimal choice; an answer to both economic necessity and familial validation. Women must, however, endure the platform’s coercive disciplining, striving to meet its unknowable metrics. With the pandemic, even as they are forced to contend with the oppressive precarity of digital labour—reducing job availability, falling pay, longer hours and the risk of suspension—work on AMT, paradoxically, becomes non-negotiable. The artificial intelligence-based regimes of the platform economy urgently need a norm shift towards gender equality and redistributive justice.

Occupational Hazards in Healthcare Settings

This paper highlights the working conditions in two work chains in the public healthcare system: municipal solid-waste management and handling of hospital waste and dead bodies. While COVID-19 has exposed the hazards that workers in these sectors are exposed to, it also lays bare the historical and social hierarchies, the exploitative working conditions and intrinsic discrimination within the public healthcare system.

Will COVID-19 Hamper Strides towards Gender Equality in Ireland?

The COVID-19 pandemic has highlighted the fragility of global advances towards gender equality, thus foregrounding the inherent difficulty of achieving sustained progress within the constraints of a patriarchal system. In this paper, we explore this issue in greater depth, focusing on Ireland, widely heralded as a progressive and increasingly secular state, but one still steeped in patriarchal norms enshrined in the Constitution. Accounting for the influence of this foundational document, we examine women’s economic participation, including the impact of the pandemic response, and domestic violence. This paper argues that the pandemic response has reinforced Ireland’s patriarchal structure, stalling, and, in some cases, threatening progress towards gender equality.

COVID-19 and Women’s Labour Crisis: Reiterating an Inclusive Policy Response

The covid-19 pandemic in India has had an unequal impact on women in a number of ways. In terms of economic opportunity, it has been seen that more women lost jobs compared to men and fewer have been able to rejoin labour force. This is in the context of gendered labour markets where female labour force participation has been low and declining. This paper presents an analysis of the situation of women’s employment pre-lockdown and some indications on what the impact of Covid-19 could be, based on microstudies and other literature available. Further, the adequacy of the social protection and employment generation programmes of the government that are specifically aimed at improving female labour force participation is assessed.

The Continuing Saga of Women’s Work during COVID-19

This paper employs a social reproduction framework to argue that the two main institutions of capitalism—the markets and the state—have failed to adequately provide for the working people of India during the pandemic while fostering gender inequities. While the demand for gender equity in the domestic sphere and the workplace is not new, the pandemic further underscores its urgency.

COVID-19: Examining the Impact of Lockdown in India after One Year

One year after its announcement in March 2020, the consequences of India’s strict COVID-19 lockdown measures and ineffective policy responses continue to be felt, be it in terms of livelihood loss and economic downturn or increased marginalisation of vulnerable sections of society.

Negotiating Livelihood during COVID-19

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. This article focuses on how the women vendors negotiated their livelihood during the lockdown and analyses its impact. It looks at their ability to cope amidst vulnerability and marginalisation against the backdrop of the ongoing economic turmoil and potentially the disease itself, highlighting their plight and resilience. */

Handloom Weavers and Lockdown in Sualkuchi Cluster of Assam

After demonetisation in 2016, followed by imposition of the goods and services tax in the subsequent year, the COVID-19 lockdown has turned out to be a final nail in the coffin for the handloom sector in Assam. It has special importance in the informal economy of Assam since it is next to agriculture in creating employment opportunities. An examination of the Sualkuchi weaving cluster in Assam shows the many challenges the weavers, most of them women, face.

COVID-19 and Women Informal Sector Workers in India

The precarious nature of employment of women informal workers is examined using data from the Periodic Labour Force Survey (2018–19). To capture the gendered experiences of informal workers during the lockdown period, data from a series of rapid assessment studies is used. It was found that the unequal gendered division of domestic chores existed even before the onset of the pandemic, but the COVID-19- induced lockdowns have further worsened the situation. In terms of paid employment, women tend to work in risky, hazardous and stigmatised jobs as front-line health workers, waste-pickers, domestic workers, but do not receive the minimum wages as specified by the government.

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