- Title: Indian women bear brunt of job losses during pandemic
- Date: 2nd August 2021
- Summary: NEW DELHI, INDIA (RECENT - JULY 23, 2021) (REUTERS) INTERIOR OF KITCHEN / GARMENT FACTORY WORKER WHO LOST HER JOB DURING SECOND WAVE OF COVID-19 PANDEMIC, SAVITRI DEVI, FOLDING CLOTHES LIT OIL LAMP SAVITRI DEVI LIGHTING OIL LAMP IN FRONT OF IDOLS OF HINDU GODS (SOUNDBITE) (Hindi) GARMENT FACTORY WORKER WHO LOST HER JOB DURING SECOND WAVE OF PANDEMIC, SAVITRI DEVI, SAYING: "There are a lot of challenges. There is difficulty in everything from arranging food to clothes, from vegetables to tea, eating, drinking, everything is a challenge. There is practically nothing - I managed to cook for one meal but can't provide for the second." ROOF OF HOUSE / SILHOUETTE OF SAVITRI STANDING AT ENTRY OF HER HOUSE SAVITRI LOOKING ON CROWDED ALLEY OF SLUM WOMAN LOOKING ON GURUGRAM, HARYANA, INDIA (RECENT - JULY 29, 2021) (REUTERS) DAILY-WAGE WOMEN WORKERS SEATED ON PAVEMENT WAITING TO GET HIRED CHILD SLEEPING ON LAP OF WOMAN WORKER (SOUNDBITE) (Hindi) DAILY WAGE WORKER, SEEMA RANI, SAYING: "Ever since lockdown, we have not been able to get work as daily wagers." REPORTER ASKING: "What problems are you facing because of unemployment?" "There are lots of difficulties. Earlier the wheat flour used to sell for 17-18 rupees per kilo but now the price has risen to 30 rupees a kilo. Everything has become so expensive on one hand and on the other hand we are not getting any work. We have small children and we are sitting here with them. We do not even have the money to pay for our travel to our native villages, how do we even go back, there are so many problems." NOIDA, UTTAR PRADESH, INDIA (RECENT - JULY 23, 2021) (REUTERS) MALE WORKER MONITORING AUTOMATIC EMBROIDERY MACHINES IN GARMENT FACTORY MACHINE OPERATING WORKER LOOKING AT MACHINES VARIOUS OF MALE WORKER IRONING CLOTH (SOUNDBITE) (English) OWNER OF CLOTHING FACTORY, AMRBOSSIA APPAREL, CHANDRA DIMRI, SAYING: "Any time such problem comes, they (women staff) are the first soft point. So, the question (that) comes to your mind is to reduce your cost. What are the ways (in which) you will do that? So, in (the) Indian scenario, what you do that, first is to, you know, wipe out your staffers." INTERIOR OF WELDING MACHINE MANUFACTURING UNIT / WORKERS WORKING VARIOUS OF MALE WORKERS ASSEMBLING WELDING MACHINES VARIOUS OF MEN AND WOMEN WORKING (SOUNDBITE) (English) MANAGING DIRECTOR, WELDING MACHINE MANUFACTURING UNIT, ELECTRA KOKO TAWA, KARTIK BANSAL, SAYING: "So women workers were basically working in the unskilled product segment. So, they were doing all the unskilled jobs where no skill is particularly required. But post-COVID all we require is properly skilled workers who can do twice as much work as the unskilled and the precision is higher and the efficiency is greater." MEN AND WOMEN WORKERS AT FACTORY VARIOUS OF WOMEN WORKERS WORKING VARIOUS OF WOMEN WORKERS STICKING LABELS ON LAPTOP CHARGERS NEW DELHI, INDIA (RECENT - JULY 29, 2021) (REUTERS) GENERAL SECRETARY, ALL INDIA TRADE UNION CONGRESS, AMARJEET KAUR ARRANGING DOCUMENTS KAUR SIGNING DOCUMENTS (SOUNDBITE) (English) GENERAL SECRETARY, ALL INDIA TRADE UNION CONGRESS, AMARJEET KAUR, SAYING: "All those who were in the middle-income group or lower income group or very very poor women, they have suffered very very badly. So, (the) second wave has hit them much more and the government packages have not come up to uplift this section of the society. And we find lots of child labour once again entering into the market, girls losing their education, child marriages happening and women suffering domestic violence at home and they are burdened with taking care of children, old, sick people in the family, whereas they have lost their own livelihood, which was great contribution in running the family." GURUGRAM, HARYANA, INDIA (RECENT - JULY 23, 2021) (REUTERS) VARIOUS OF DAILY-WAGE WOMEN WORKERS SITTING ON A PAVEMENT WAITING TO GET HIRED
- Embargoed: 16th August 2021 10:03
- Keywords: COVID-19 Gurugram India New Delhi Noida coronavirus employment factory labourers lockdown pandemic women workers
- Location: NOIDA, UTTAR PRADESH/ GURUGRAM, HARYANA/ NEW DELHI, INDIA
- City: NOIDA, UTTAR PRADESH/ GURUGRAM, HARYANA/ NEW DELHI, INDIA
- Country: India
- Topics: Asia / Pacific
- Reuters ID: LVA001EOQ4SP3
- Aspect Ratio: 16:9
- Story Text: Savitri Devi has been searching for work since she lost her job at a garment factory in New Delhi, along with half her co-workers, when sales plummeted at the start of the coronavirus pandemic last year.
The 44-year-old has tried her luck repeatedly - and unsuccessfully - near her home in Okhla, an industrial hub with thousands of small factories and workshops, where there were previously plenty of unskilled jobs for women.
"There is practically nothing - I managed to cook for one meal but can't provide for the second," Devi said outside her one-room home in a slum of about 100 families, just a few miles away from Prime Minister Narendra Modi's office.
Devi is one of around 15 million Indians who have been made redundant in an economic slowdown that has hit women disproportionately, trade union and industry leaders said.
The vast majority of 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.
Worse, an anticipated slow economic recovery, the closure of thousands of factories and a sluggish vaccination rate, especially among women, is expected to undermine their attempts to return to the workforce.
"All those who were in the middle-income group or lower income group or very very poor women, they have suffered very very badly," said Amarjeet Kaur, general secretary of the All India Trade Union Congress, one of the largest trade unions in India.
The second wave of the coronavirus pandemic is expected to deepen economic stress in India, which was already in its worst recession for seven decades.
With the vast majority of Indians working in the informal sector, precise estimates of job losses are difficult.
But in a country without a comprehensive welfare system or pandemic-related support for small businesses, several industry bodies have reported widespread redundancies over the past year.
The Consortium of Indian Industries (CIA), which represents over one million small firms, 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 - before the second wave of the virus hit in April - were made permanently redundant.
That compared with around 7% of male workers, many of whom were able to either return to their old jobs or take up independent work like selling vegetables.
Chandra Dimri's clothing factory in Noida used to employ about 40 people, including a dozen women, to make uniforms for hotels, airlines and other companies. Now, he only has about half a dozen workers, all of them men. He said they tend to be more flexible with working hours and are able to work odd shifts.
"They are the first soft point," he said of women workers. "So, the question (that) comes to your mind is to reduce your costs.... what you do first is to wipe out your staffers."
This scenario is being played out across the many factories in Noida on the outskirts of New Delhi, where the production of everything from garments, auto parts to food packaging were increasingly being automated, signalling a bleak future for the unskilled labour hoping to get back into work.
(Production: Bhushan Kumar, Sunil Kataria)
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