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TCI Gender Specialist Discusses COVID-19 Impact on Women

Illustration of coronavirus
In developing countries like India, the impact of the coronavirus pandemic may be disproportionately felt by women. (Image by the Centers for Disease Control)

The coronavirus pandemic will have a disparate effect on women in developing countries, says Shubh Swain, Tata-Cornell Institute gender and nutrition specialist and assistant director of Technical Assistance and Research for Indian Nutrition and Agriculture. Writing for LiveMint, Swain argues that cultural and socio-economic factors in resource-constrained countries will cause women to feel the brunt of COVID-19 and its impact on societies.

The pandemic disproportionately affects women in several ways, Swain says. Women make up the majority of the healthcare workforce—67% globally and 79% in South Asia—placing them at a higher risk. In developing countries like India, women are also primary household caregivers, and mobility restrictions put in place to slow the spread of COVID-19, increase that burden. Stay-at-home orders also place women at a greater risk of domestic violence. The economic slowdown caused by the pandemic may also leave women, who in countries like India already receive a low share of household resources, without adequate nutrition.

“Governments, therefore, have to take aggressive steps to mitigate the collateral damage of the COVID-19 that is going to hit the women harder,” Swain writes.

Read the full op-ed on LiveMint.com: “Impact of covid-19 on women in developing nations will be harsher”