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

COVID and GenderSubscribe to COVID and Gender

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.

Social Distancing and Sex Workers in India

The deplorable condition of sex workers in India amidst the COVID-19 lockdown is discussed. Prostitution, now called sex work, has been a historical reality with cultural connotations. However, a significant amount of shame and stigma is attached to the profession wherein it is not even seen as work. Social distancing and the lockdown have left sex workers across the country in poverty and hunger. There is a need to address the issues of this section of the society from a human rights’ perspective.

Locked in: What the COVID-19 Pandemic Spells for Survivors of Domestic Violence

The authors reflect on how COVID-19 has affected the issue of domestic violence against women in Kerala, and argue that it is imperative to include domestic violence-related services as part of the gamut of “essential services” to mitigate the adverse effects of the pandemic and its responses.

Locked Out at the Margins

The pandemic and lockdown have been particularly hard on those at society’s margins.

Domesticity and Its Substitute

During the lockdown, the heightened burden of domestic work has been shouldered by women. This article analyses the class dimension involved in domestic work, namely the devolving of the bulk of such work by upper-class women onto domestic workers. The persistent vulnerability of domestic workers during the lockdown and its later phase is examined. The undervaluation and feminisation of paid domestic work has reinforced the gendered image of housework. In the situation of lockdown, wherein paid domestic “help” was unavailable, upper-class women were easily pushed back into gendered domesticity, proving the inadequacy of paid domestic services as a solution to mundane, back-breaking household work. The necessity of transforming the private nature of domestic work, which is more in the direct interest of workers than compared to their richer counterparts, is also further explored.

Stay Home, Stay Safe: Interrogating Violence in the Domestic Sphere

Though India was quick to declare the pandemic-induced lockdown, how accommodative was it of the violent and gendered realities of the country?

Locked in a Crisis

​This article is based on the documentation of the issues faced by women farmers across 14 districts of the Vidarbha and Marathwada regions of Maharashtra. More than ever, the present pandemic has exposed the critical weakness of public systems, since consistent expenditure cuts in the social sector have led to poor infrastructure in public health, the public distribution system, water and sanitation, and shelter homes for violence survivors, among various other facilities. This, along with the depletion of scarce natural resources, has added to the burden of women’s unpaid work.

A Gender-responsive Policy and Fiscal Response to the Pandemic

It is important to include women and lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, queer, intersex+ persons in the monitoring and accountability mechanisms of the government. A policy that is based on gender concerns and a gender-sensitive fiscal response to the ongoing health crisis as well as the period after that is the need of the hour.

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