Through the onset of global pandemic, most women rights activists, feminist portals and even women empowerment bodies have been leading a narrative how only and only women are suffering through COVID – be it loss of employment or domestically at home.
Now, as per the latest report by Centre for Monitoring Indian Economy (CMIE), urban men lost more jobs than women during the second wave of COVID-19, implying a complete loss of livelihood for millions of households. The most disproportionate loss of jobs because of the first wave of COVID-19 was among urban women, CMIE’s MD and CEO Mahesh Vyas said in his analysis.
COVID First Wave India
According to the report,
- Urban women account for about three per cent of total employment, but they accounted for 39 per cent of total job losses in the first wave of the pandemic
- Of the 6.3 million jobs lost, urban women accounted for a loss of 2.4 million
COVID Second Wave India
However, during the second wave, urban women suffered the least loss of jobs, he stated. The burden of job losses has shifted to men and during April-June 2021, a disproportionately higher loss of jobs was incurred among urban men. The report pointed out:
- Urban males account for about 28 per cent of the total employment in India
- They accounted for a lower 26 per cent of the loss of jobs till March 2021
- But, in the quarter ended June 2021 their share in total job losses was higher at 30 per cent
The report further added, how urban male jobs are the better quality jobs and their disproportionate loss could imply a greater fall in income than witnessed so far.
It is also likely that women are often the second earning member of a household and the loss of jobs among women more often than not implies a fall in income but not a complete loss of income, Vyas opined. But, a loss of job among men often implies complete loss of livelihood. He added,
This greater loss of urban male jobs is worrisome.
Vyas further stated that while many of the lost jobs will come back, the current loss is huge and its impact on the households that have suffered because of this cannot be captured in the cold statistics rolled out here or in the comfort that jobs will come back eventually. Many of those who got their jobs back or found alternate jobs got them at lower wage rates and household incomes have fallen a lot more than employment has, he added.
- The burden of being a provider only and only lies on the Men in India
- Even in times where every organisation and institution pushes for Gender Balanced composition of their employees, how many women actually contribute their salaries towards the household expenses?
- In several cases, the salaries earned by women are kept in individual salary account, while it is the Man of the house who pays for daily expenses, education of children, shopping, travel and other recreational events
- In many homes, women voluntarily choose not to work professionally from Day 1 of the marriage, or if they do, they prefer picking up part time or other jobs which keep them occupied
- When Financial Providers – Men – today are expected to contribute in every single activity at home, be it from household chores to taking care of children, why can’t Women too double their task – earn, contribute equally and manage the home together
- Gender Equality can’t be only expected from the male gender, since in very difficult times like these, both partners need to work as a team
- An earnest request to all who constantly portray women as sole victims of COVID catastrophe – Please stop playing the Gender card as the world and all humans need to work together for emerging out victoriously
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