74% professionals believe women were more negatively impacted by Covid-19: Survey

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Nearly 74% professionals believe that women have been more negatively impacted by the Covid-19 crisis than men, according to a new survey on the impact of the pandemic on the Indian female workforce.
Moreover, 49% respondents also believed that the burden of household responsibilities after Covid fell more on women.
The survey was conducted by Women in Technology, Ace India, in November and December 2020 and focused on female professionals between the ages of 21 and 55 working in the IT, technology, banking and finance sectors.
“The challenge for most women has been that in addition to professional headwinds, they have also faced personal struggles, with the pandemic leading to families being confined to homes and resulting in enhanced housework and remote learning for children. The extensive lockdowns and limited public interactions also further reduced available support systems,” says Anuranjita Kumar, founder-chairperson, Women in Technology India.
“For instance, McKinsey has estimated that the household burden for Indian women has increased by 30%.”
Kumar also points to the fact that nearly four out of 10 women lost their jobs in 2020. “Social dynamics have also played a part here, with a mindset that ‘family comes first’, and that men should be the primary earners or ‘breadwinners’,” Kumar says. “This can be seen in the Global World Values Survey, in which more than half of respondents in South Asia endorsed the belief that men have a primary or greater right to a job.”
Overall, 65% respondents said they had seen their careers impacted negatively by Covid-19, while 86% had seen their household responsibilities increase in this period When it came to the impact of Covid-19 on mental health, as many as 73% respondents also said that the pandemic has affected their productivity.
The survey also found that younger and less-experienced female workers at the junior levels had been the worst-hit across sectors. Overall, 77% of workers with under 5 years of experience had been detrimentally impacted. However in the long-term, approximately 35% respondents said that employers would be more supportive of policies such as work from home that helped female workers.
The impact of the pandemic varied across sectors, with only 47% IT professionals saying that their livelihood had been negatively impacted, as compared to 60% working in banking and financial services and 83% in manufacturing.
“We have seen that there has been a decline in female workforce participation across the board, but with travel and tourism being the hardest hit sector in general, women have again had to bear a disproportionate impact,” Kumar said. “Many women take career breaks or are in support roles (non-revenue generating) that have been at the risk of redundancy due to tenure or non -client facing, at a time when businesses have been under pressure.”

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