Sustainable Advancements (OPC) Private Limited and Aspire for Her Foundation recently conducted comprehensive research among the working women during Q3 of the FY 2020-21. It was piloted on the impact of Covid-19 pandemic on their professional lives. The preliminary findings point out, self-employed women in India reported being most negatively affected, highest among all sectors viz. corporate, academic, government, civil society, healthcare and others. The reasons for this negative impact are firstly, either they had to quit or their offers got cancelled/postponed, secondly added burden of housework/childcare/eldercare/work-life balance has become worse. Covid-19 has had an intense impact on self-employment and is expected to have an effect on the 13.8% self-employed women. Many of them are in microenterprises and also self-financed, contributing in sectors like tourism, education and beauty which have been ravaged by the lockdowns.This finding corroborates to a Harvard Business Review study by Mahajan,White,Madgavkar andKrishnan (2020) - that points out the disproportionate impact of Covid-19 on female entrepreneurship that includes women- owned microenterprises in emerging economies.
However, self-employed women also represented the highest percentage among all the various sectors who perceived that - both men and women were impacted equally by Covid-19. This is because, the pandemic had an effect on the entire ecosystem. Most of the industries saw a downturn and only the industries dealing with essential goods thrived during this period. Infact, as per the study by Anarock and Retailers Association of India (RAI) titled ‘Indian Retail – Certainty Despite Headwinds,’ essential commodities like food and grocery is and shall experience exponential growth in the coming quarters, while beauty, personal care, wellness and home essentials are expected to take longer with 4-6 quarters to recover fully. Whatever be it, Covid-19 has the potential to further affect the already staggering data as put forward by the United Nations Global Compact (UNGC) India study, where the female labour force participation (FLFP) rate has reduced from 34% in 2006 to 24.8 % in 2020. BE Bureau