Que) The COVID-19 pandemic has raised the already strained social disparities. How does this manifest in terms of gender discrimination? (150 Words)
GS 1: Women
Introduction: In the recently released Gender gap report - 2021 of the World Economic Forum(WEF), India fared at 140th position out of 156 countries. India ranked second last in terms of health and survival and the gap increased in all four parameters of the report. This increase in gender gap during the COVID crisis is a recognized phenomenon.
Manifestation in terms of Gender Discrimination:
1. Increased pressure of marriage: It is found that adolescent girls are grappling with an increased pressure to get married,
2. More Household work: spent longer hours on household chores, rather than on education or work
3. Lesser work for women in the economy: The Gender gap report suggest that the economic disparity widened by 3%.
4. Distanced from school for children: lacked tools to continue school education online, and reported an increase in gender-based violence.
5. Lack of access to resources and technology: Nearly 28% of those girls surveyed in India don’t have the tools such as mobile phones or Internet access to learn online.
Causes of this increased discrimination
1. Financial Burden on Family: Which creates pressure to marry-off girls who are perceived as a burden.
2. No incentive to study: Schemes such as Mid-day meals etc. creates and extra incentive towards education, which stopped.
3. Increased unpaid work of caretaking of household: The women are given the traditional role of taking care of the family, elderly and children. Due to more time spent at home this work increased.
4. Low paid works were impacted more: The women are employed in low paid jobs discriminately more; such jobs vanished from the market due to the COVID.
5. Decreased personal savings: Women were unable to save from household expenditure for the future.
6. Lockdown locked women into houses: As their interaction with the world decreased, so did their potential to learn, earn and equity.
7. Technology access: The women have significantly less ownership of any kind of property including ownership and access to mobile phones.
8. Reduced access to health facilities: Due to the spread of COVID, women couldn't access health facilities.
Conclusion: This situation can be tackled only by the age old solutions of establishing girl-friendly spaces within the community such as skills training centres, providing digital and financial literacy and violence-free working spaces. For this recognition of the problem is necessary otherwise decades of progress done in this regard in terms of 'beti bachao beti padhao' would be undone.