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Huge decline in women employment

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By Lalit Garg

Women and children faced the biggest brunt of the Corona epidemic. Lockdowns and other strict regulations have caused many sectors worldwide to stagnate or collapse, causing the most affected economy and causing a sharp decline in employment. Now that the impact of the epidemic seems to be diminishing, in such a situation, India along with all the countries of the world is trying to overcome it. In such a situation, it is a big challenge to bring the economy back on track, for which the Central Government has issued a series of relief packages; gradually the market and general activities are moving towards normalcy. But in the meantime, there is worrying news about female employment. A think tank called the Centre for Monitoring Indian Economy (CMIE) has reported that only 7 percent of urban women in India are employed or looking for it. According to CMIE, our country lags behind Indonesia and Saudi Arabia in terms of employing women. The corona epidemic has exacerbated this problem.

Due to the policy and schemes of the Central Government, new records have been set in the last few decades for the empowerment of women, the achievements of women from public life to the front of the economy and the achievement of being self-reliant, there is a sharp decline in time, which is disturbing. According to the CMIE report, such a small number of urban women are employed in India. For the reasons of Corona epidemic, the sectors that women directly depend on for employment were the most affected. Be it domestic help, schooling sector, tourism or catering sector. Due to the Covid-19 crisis, a large number of women were evacuated from these sectors.

At the same time, many women had to leave their jobs due to the extra burden of children’s care due to the closure of children’s schools. Due to these reasons, the employment or job sector which has been the biggest means of empowerment of women, the proportion of their participation in it has reached a very worrying situation. It is worth noting that the survey conducted by Bubble AI during the last two months from January this year has revealed the fact that women are suffering big losses in many areas. According to Indian references, due to Covid-19, many women had to leave their jobs in the middle. This has further reduced the already low participation of women in the labour sector.

Apart from CMIE, a survey by the International Laborie Organization has also revealed the frightening fact that Covid-19 has affected the employment of women more than men. The organization conducted a survey in Mumbai and found that while the epidemic affected the employment of three-fourths of men, the share of women was about 90 percent. It was found in this survey that it was eight times easier for men to get new employment than women. For example, men took up the job of delivering things, which women could not easily do in a society like India.

According to CMIE, 9.7 percent of urban women were part of the labour force in the year 2019. But during the epidemic this share decreased to 6.9 per cent. The institution has presented these facts after talking to one lakh 70 thousand families across India. The report said that seventy-one percent of working men at workplaces are just eleven percent. Obviously, unemployment figures are also decided on these grounds. There is no doubt that the struggles that women face every day in social situations, they are still uplifted. But the truth is that after losing their place in public life is very hard and the sudden loss of job and employment has a direct impact on their mental health and they are also struggling with it. Whenever there is a sudden or planned turmoil in any country or society, any disaster, war and political or man-made problem arises, it has the most negative effect on women and they have to bear the brunt of it. Women were also the most affected in the crisis of the epidemic. The latest survey has raised concerns over the crisis in jobs and employment. Earlier, there have been reports that cases of domestic violence against women increased rapidly due to the total ban imposed due to Corona. The question is why a situation arises in which women have to bear the brunt of every crisis.

For the empowerment of women, it is necessary that the Government of India must take necessary steps to provide employment to more women. The Indian government will have to change the mind-set to focus only on the IT sector. It will have to call companies investing in other sectors. Like the textile industry, which has now shifted to Bangladesh, women get good employment in this industry. The government will have to focus on it. The government will have to give up its sexist thinking. Only 11 percent of the Indian government’s own employees are women. More and new opportunities for women in government jobs are important.

In the World Economic Forum in Davos, Oxfam, in a report called ‘Time to Care’, shocked the world by revealing the economic conditions of domestic women. The women, who handle their home, take care of the family, do countless difficult tasks, from getting up in the morning to sleeping at night. If we say that maintaining the house is the most difficult task in the world then it probably will not be wrong. This is the only profession in the world in which you are at work for 24 hours, seven days a day, suffer a crisis every day, and meet every deadline and that too without leave. Think, she does not take any salary in exchange for performing so many task. Her hard work is not usually given special importance by being called a regular household chore.

At the same time, this work of her is not labeled as being beneficial in the progress of the nation. While that much work would have been done by the servants, a large amount would have to be paid as salary. On the other hand, a woman who works in a company, after working for a fixed period and a fixed number of days, gets a specified amount of salary. This work of her and her sequence is seen as a contribution to national progress (GDP). It is believed that such a woman’s contribution in the economic development of the country. The question is why the labour of domestic working women is not evaluated economically? Why this outrageous treatment of domestic women?

Actually, the reason for such situation is social and narrow thinking. In the patriarchal social system, the center of power has usually been men and women have been marginalized in the sharing of labour and resources. This kind of tradition developed centuries ago, but it is regrettable that today, when the world is claiming to be modern and civilized, the Narendra Modi government in India is ready to give equal status to women and its self-respect. In that too, women have not got the right to fair share in resources for the most part. There is a big question that how long will all the evils, pandemics and national crises continue to fall on women.

(Lalit Garg is a Journalist, columnist, writer and member of Rajbhasa samiti, Ministry of Home Affairs. The views expressed are personal opinion of the author. He can be reached at lalirgarg11@gmail.com)

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