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3 Aug 2021

Manoj Kumar, Alasdair Pal & Sumit Khana, Thomson Reuters Foundation

India: Women factory workers locked out of job market, as informal, low-paid jobs are largely impacted by the pandemic

"Coronavirus likely to lock India's women out of job market for years", 2 August 2021

Most employed women in India are in low-skilled work, such as farm and factory labour and domestic help, sectors that have been hit hard by the pandemic.

...[A]n anticipated slow economic recovery, the closure of thousands of factories and a sluggish vaccination rate…is expected to undermine their attempts to return to the workforce...

The Consortium of Indian Industries (CIA)...said women make up 60% of the job losses.

A report by the Centre for Sustainable Employment at Azim Premji University found that 47% of women workers who lost their job between March and December...were made permanently redundant.

Reuters spoke with…women in Delhi, the industrial state of Gujarat and…Tamil Nadu. All had lost their jobs in small garment factories, food processing units, travel agencies and schools, leading them to scrimp and save.

"We have cut down spending on milk, vegetables, clothes…everything," said Devi, who, along with her day-labourer husband supports an unemployed son and an aged mother...

Many of the women Reuters spoke to stressed the damage from job loss to their self-esteem, leading to mental and physical health issues...