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The Gendered Implications of Pandemic-Era Familial Care Work

Journal: The Journal of Middle East and North Africa Sciences (Vol.7, No. 08)

Publication Date:

Authors : ; ; ; ;

Page : 26-30

Keywords : Healthcare; Women; Women’s Health; COVID-19; Political Economy.;

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Introduction. In India, the fragmented and heavily under-sourced diversion of resources towards the COVID-19 Pandemic has heavily limited the workings of non-COVID-related health services. Several factors, including the suspension of transport facilities, the shutdown of private facilities, conversion of public-health facilities into COVID-19 treatment centers, and the diversion of medical professionals towards COVID-19 emergency-response have lengthened these restrictions. This has gendered implications for low-income women and girls. A lack of structured social security and healthcare-provision systems obligates these persons to assume the primary caretaker role in their households. Aims. This paper aims to outline the evidence for the lived experiences of low-income Indian women as they strive to balance their paid-work and unpaid-caretaker-obligations during the COVID-19 Pandemic. On a macro level, our work aims to assess the extent to which women's health, economic, and social empowerment can be achieved through existing programs and policies. Methods. Our findings were drawn from qualitative research conducted in urban and peri-urban regions of Jaipur and Lucknow. A mixed-methods approach was used, combining online surveys with semi-structured interviews and participatory exercises to generate high-quality data. All girls and young women selected for participation were between the ages of 15-24. Results. Interviewees described their caretaking experience as physically and emotionally depleting. As substitute providers of care, they felt unprepared and unfit to administer health procedures. Although many felt that they “needed” to earn some sort of income, their paid work options were few and poorly paid. As a result, most participants could only fulfill their domestic caretaking responsibilities in the most basic capacity. Analysis of participants' survey reports revealed that women had little knowledge of the COVID-19 pandemic and its consequences on their lives. Conclusions. The strengthening of social security measures is of the utmost importance. In the future, policy should take into consideration the costs of womens' caregiving responsibilities on themselves, their children, and their families. A gendered approach to the political economy must be adopted.

Last modified: 2021-08-04 06:57:20