Enabling young women to engage with the labour market is key to both youth and gender empowerment, and policy needs to urgently focus on pathways that provide meaningful opportunities for post-pandemic recovery.
Garima Sahai, Research Associate at the Department of Geography, University of Cambridge, and Bye-Fellow, Murray Edwards College, University of Cambridge.
Rosa Abraham, Assistant Professor of Economics, School of Arts and Sciences, Azim Premji University, India.
Mrinalini Jha, Assistant Professor, Jindal School of Banking & Finance, O.P. Jindal Global University, Sonipat, Haryana, India.
Bhaskar Vira, Pro Vice-Chancellor for Education at the University of Cambridge and the Professor of Political Economy Department of Geography at the University of Cambridge.
The COVID-19 pandemic has had severe consequences for the Indian labour market. However, its effects have been experienced differently across ages and genders. Using emerging longitudinal data, we examined who were hit the hardest? We found that young people (versus older adults) and women (versus men) experienced the highest losses in jobs and earnings. Young women, disadvantaged both on account of their age and their gender, suffered the most as compared to all other categories of workers analysed (young men, older men, and older women). These findings have important implications.
India is at a demographic juncture, which means it is experiencing a “youth bulge” and has one of the youngest populations in the world. Further, the female labour force participation in India was low and declining even before the pandemic. Enabling young women to engage with the labour market is key to both youth and gender empowerment, and policy needs to urgently focus on pathways that provide meaningful opportunities for post-pandemic recovery.
Published in: Economic and Political Weekly
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