More women lost jobs in the pandemic in India, compared to men, says expert

Indian women spent more time doing unpaid care work at home, said Daniela Bas, director, UNDESA, speaking at an event recently

February 12, 2022 12:36 pm | Updated February 13, 2022 06:30 pm IST - CHENNAI

Data from India shows that in the first lockdown in 2020, only seven per cent of men lost their jobs, compared to 47 per cent of women, said Daniela Bas, director, UNDESA and Department of Economic and Social Affairs, UN.

While speaking at a side event of the United Nation’s 60th session of the Commission of Social Development, ‘Women cooperative warriors combat COVID-19 with sustainable gender and equity strategies: iconic case of Working Women’s Forum (India) and the Indian Cooperative Network for Women’, she said, Indian women spent more time doing unpaid care work at home than men. “On an average, they spent more than ten times on unpaid domestic chores than men. Incidents of domestic violence also increased during the lockdown as many women were trapped at home with their abusers,” she added.Esim Simel, head cooperatives unit, International Labour Organization, Geneva, said, in the face of the pandemic, women coopera

tives stepped up to distribute relief measures and services. They had done awareness building, and linked their members with health systems for treatment and care.

Chitose Arai, vice chair, Japanese Consumers’ Co-Operative Union, said, amidst the protracted COVID-19 pandemic, people’s lives, livelihoods and dignity are at stake. “In India, women cooperative members were severely affected as they were unable to borrow credit, withdraw their savings, make payments or transfer their money due to restrictions on mobility and lack of public transportation. Initiatives by cooperatives to fight the pandemic have opened up new opportunities for women cooperators. These include skill development through online education and learning, digital inclusion with increased online activities, cooperation among women cooperators for exchange of views and practices, flexible work environments, new business opportunities and access to microfinance,” she added.

Nandini Azad, president, Working Women’s Forum (India)/Indian Cooperative Network for Women, India, said their forum does not just listen to the problems of women in the informal sector but also reaches out to as many as possible, with unique strategies as solutions to help them. “Participation in such forums is extremely important as it aids in getting the voices of these women heard in the international community,” she added.

Andreas Kappes, secretary general, International Raiffeisen Union, Germany and Arianna Giuliodori, secretary general, World Farmers’ Organisation, Italy were among those who spoke at the event.

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