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Covid Impacted Women

Women Empowerment

India was barely dealing with the aftermath of the first wave when the second wave hit. More lives were lost, more families were pushed below the poverty line and more women were left with unspeakable hardships. 

 

Covid impacted women tell their tale -

 

Sneha was set to return to work, covid, however, came like a whirlwind and uprooted her plans. She is a trained software tester, with 5+ years of work experience. A few months into the job search she realised she needed something more. Even though she updated her CV yet she got no interview call. With the understanding that she needs to upskill herself to successfully return to work, she enrolled in a women's restarter program. On May 12th, just a few days of training had passed when her in-laws and husband tested positive for Covid. She had to pull back from the program. On 22nd May her mother-in-law passed away. The support she had from her was the reason Sneha could return to work. “I graduated top of the class back in the day, yet my dream to return to work has been shattered. My mother-in-law could easily take care of my children. In fact, she is the one who encouraged me to go back to work.” 

 

Mamta comes from a middle-class family and has a daughter who has recently joined the school. In order to take care of her daughter, she had decided to leave work. Early May 2021 her whole family tested positive. On the 8th day, her husband’s oximeter reading started dropping. She searched high and low but was not able to find a hospital bed. However, a kind neighbor gave her an oxygen concentrator. Fate had other plans for her. She left her husband for 30 min to get the machine. When she returned she saw a sight no woman should go through, her husband was no more. 

 

Priyanka and her husband Ankur tested positive for Covid. Priyanka had a mild case while her husband had moderate severity. Since Ankur was a healthy individual with no recorded medical history, the doctors advised him home quarantine. However, much to everyone’s surprise he suffered a stroke. Thankfully he was rushed to the hospital on time. That saved his life but the impact of the stroke was irreversible. With one side paralyzed, there is little chance that he can start working immediately. Priyanka is employed however, her salary is not enough to support them. Now they are left with little to no savings, a meager job that barely covers the monthly expenses, and an ailment that will take months if not years to get alright. 

 

 

Impact on Indian working women:

More and more women were pushed out of the offices. Unconscious bias, discrimination, and societal norms guaranteed a great deal of damage to the lives of Indian women. Many women were owners of microenterprises such as a boutique, beauty parlor, educational institutes, or Kirana shops. These businesses were mostly self-financed. When India went into lockdown because of Covid these businesses had to put up the shutter permanently. Even in the organised sector more women were laid off than men. 

 

India was barely dealing with the aftermath of the first wave when the second wave hit. More lives were lost, more families were pushed below the poverty line and more women were left with unspeakable hardships. 

 

Way forward:

There are countless women like Mamta, Sneha and Priyanka who have lost their jobs, loved ones or the sole family earner. All of us need to work together to make sure that human suffering is minimized. The most positive thing about a woman is that they are resourceful, multitaskers, and strong. Given these qualities, women will tackle whatever comes their way. Policies, hiring plans, upskilling workshops can help these women fight back with this situation more efficiently. 

 

Qween.in is working to empower women by providing work-from-home jobs, and gig work. We urge organisations to join our campaign by amplifying the message or becoming hiring partners. 

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