The gendered crisis
Livelihoods and wellbeing in India during COVID-19
THIS ARTICLE IS ON EARLY VIEW | This article studies the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic on the gendered dimensions of employment and mental health among urban informal-sector workers in Delhi, India.
First, the study finds that men’s employment declined by 84 percentage points during the pandemic relative to pre-pandemic employment, while their monthly earnings fell by 89 percent relative to the baseline mean. In contrast, women did not experience any significant impact on employment during pandemic.
Second, the study documents very high levels of pandemic-induced mental stress, with wives reporting greater stress than husbands. Third, this gendered pattern in pandemic-induced mental stress is partly explained by men’s employment losses, which affected wives more than husbands.
In contrast, women staying employed during the pandemic is associated with worse mental health for them and their (unemployed) husbands. Fourth, pre-existing social networks are associated with higher mental stress for women, possibly due to the “home-based” nature of women’s networks.