Gendered Effects of COVID-19 in India : A Metanalysis

Indian Political Economy Association, 24th Conference (2020)

22 Pages Posted: 17 Jan 2021

Date Written: December 4, 2020


As the COVID-19 pandemic rages on, scientists are finding that men have higher morbidity and mortality as compared to women . However, when it comes to the indirect impact of COVID-19 the evidence is disturbingly skewed against women. The virus induced lockdown and social distancing requirements have paved the way for a staggering economic and social crisis while putting women in the frontline.

Unprecedented number of people have lost jobs and with women at a 19% higher risk of losing jobs than men, many have termed this recession as a ‘shecession’. Women’s participation in the workforce is critical to ensure a full and fast recovery. This seems inconceivable in the case of India, taking into perspective the pre-pandemic female labour participation rate of only 23.6 percent.

Women that already spent 577 percent more time in a day on housework than men are bearing the strain of increase in unpaid household work, paid work and being a learning coach to kids. Socially considered to be the primary caregivers, they are the first ones to lose out on paid work. Severe economic distress, confinement to home, and unemployment has given rise to a substantial increase in violence against women, post lockdown.

Moreover, a large pre-existing gender digital divide in India has further exacerbated the problem of access to information and services. Only 29 percent of internet users in India are women. In today’s online learning and working reality, this has grave ramifications for female education, drop-out rate and employment.

Experts are calling for targeted action to counter this gender-regressive scenario even while the Government’s response in this subject remains apathetic. Given this backdrop, the objective of this paper is to explore the gender aspect of the COVID-19 pandemic in the context of India and its impact on Indian economy and society. For this purpose this paper has analyzed the contributing socio-economic and cultural factors before and during the COVID-19 induced pandemic to get a holistic understanding.

Keywords: COVID-19, lockdown, pandemic, unpaid work, domestic work, women’s lives, employment, economic impact, job loss, India, Domestic violence, digital divide, girl education, remote work, women’s health, information access, gendered inequality, socio-economic, metanalysis, gender responsive budgeting

JEL Classification: J16, J12, J24, J28, O53, O15, 124, 125, 128, 131

Suggested Citation

Gupta, Shagufta and Ghosh, Poulomi and Bindal, Shalu, Gendered Effects of COVID-19 in India : A Metanalysis (December 4, 2020). Indian Political Economy Association, 24th Conference (2020), Available at SSRN: or

Shagufta Gupta


Shalu Bindal

Independent ( email )

Do you have a job opening that you would like to promote on SSRN?

Paper statistics

Abstract Views
PlumX Metrics