One of the greatest fallouts of the coronavirus pandemic has been the growing disparities between men and women as far as their economic wellbeing is concerned and has been a major contributor in increasing the poverty rates among women. The coronavirus pandemic has been deepening the cleavage of inequality, poverty and injustice between members of the two genders. This fact has been clearly established by the United Nations Development Program(UNDP) and UN Women Report.
This report has gone on to show that the coronavirus pandemic’s impact on economies around the world may be among the most widely discussed topics but what we are not talking enough about is the widening gap between men and women as far as the affects of the pandemic is concerned and the ways in which it is rendering women around the world poorer and far more dependent on their male counterparts.
Women Pushed to Brinks of Poverty and Marginality Globally
The report above shows that the poverty rates for women across the world had been growing considerably due to the coronavirus induced lockdown but the rate at which this is happening is unprecedented and alarming to say the least. The poverty rate among the women of the world has been growing by 9.1% according to the report that was published on September 2,2020. It was estimated that the poverty rate among women would decrease between 2019-2020 but quite the opposite has happened due to the growing pandemic situation.
Poverty and financial backwardness among women will grow to such a large extent that it has been estimated that by 2030, there will be 121 poor women between the age group of 25-34 years for every 100 men in that financial condition. Poverty has been considered to be present when an individual survives on less than $1.9 dollars a day.
It is not surprising that women are at the receiving end of this entire crisis because they already occupied the majority of low-paid, unorganised jobs that were most conveniently snatched away from them amid the coronavirus pandemic.
And because they took upon themselves the greater share of care giving and domestic work, they not only earned lesser but also lost secure sources of , when they had access to one.
The intensity and extent of the crisis becomes abundantly clear when one considers the fact that 96 million people will be pushed into poverty due to the pandemic and 47 million among them will be women. Women occupy a majority of unorganised, under-paid and less secure sources of employment and this effect of the pandemic has certainly been far more intense on them as compared to their male counterparts. The report brings out an extremely sad picture about the world that we find ourselves amid but it also warns us that the reality might be even worse that what the report predicts.
The report underlines and highlights the fact that the majority of economic and financial strains experienced by women will be concentrated in Africa and South Asia, while other parts of the world will also find their women shifting down the economic ladder.
South Asia will witness the gender gap widening and for every 100 men between the age bracket if 25-34 living in poverty, there will be 129 women.
This is drastically bigger than what was projected for 2021.
We cannot negate the fact that the coronavirus pandemic had brought world economies to a complete standstill and even as they are beginning to open up and become functional once more, it is certain that its impact will be continue to felt by women and men across the world.
The economic fallout of the coronavirus lockdown on women will be having far reaching consequences and it has been estimated that the world will not require less than $2 trillion if it wants to fight the shackles of poverty. And to bridge the growing financial gasps between men and women, the world will require nothing less than $ 48 billion. The report correctly points out that the exorbitant sums of money that will be required to bridge the gender gap and to fill up the deepening cleavage between men and women, will only suffice if nation-states across the world begin to take immediate action but if they fail to act now, the sum will grow multifold.
What is remarkable about the report is that it does not stop just at highlighting the problem and warning us of the fact that if we don’t act now, we may end up seeing the economic divide between men and women growing with the passage of time. But it also gives us a plethora of suggestions about what we can do to bridge the gaps.
It actually suggests ways in which we can help women from falling deeper into the dens of poverty amid the pandemic such as making it possible for them to go out for work by giving them access to child care facilities that are subsidised or affordable, bridging inequality in gender pay and ensuring that women are paid equal to men for equal amounts of work. The report also reminds us that while the present study only highlights the tip of the iceberg and reminds us that we must look into the problems of gender inequality furthered by the coronavirus pandemic seriously, a series of region-specific studies must also take place to understand the differential impacts of the pandemic in different parts of the country that can help devise suitable remedial strategies and plans for intervention by the governments and nation-states of the world.