The COVID pandemic is having the tremors felt across sectors, but its impact on marginalized sections, especially women, has been on several fronts. While the social and economic impact has been severe, women leadership in politics is writing inspiring stories in handling crisis worldwide and closer home. Economic independence and Social justice – the anchors of Feminism and Gender Equality have been hit hard. Would it impact Feminism as a movement in post COVID times? We deep dive here with experts.
On the Women's political empowerment day, which is also the National Panchayat Raj Day, we are launching our report on Women and Pandemic with policy suggestions for the policy makers. Our policy recommendations also align with the UN Women recommendations on the matter. "Women and Pandemic" was hosted online on 11th April 2020 and witnessed a participation of around 70 people. The importance of devolution of powers and resources to the Panchayats came out as an important recommendation given one of our panelists was Ms. Ritu jaiswal, who is a sarpanch/mukhiya/village head of a small village in Bihar. Her handle over the migrant crisis to prevent the spreading of the virus, her relief work, and the approach to empower women during this lockdown through local manufacturing of masks is inspirational. Ruha Shadab, who is a physician brought to light the underlying societal norms which play as disadvantage against women's immune system which is comparatively stronger than men. She also spoke about funneling of women from the entry-level jobs to the decision making roles at the top. Abhiruchi Chatterjee emphasised on the need of gender budgeting, gender-sensitive workplaces, gender-audits and presented views on domestic violence and unpaid care work performed by women.