The world’s worst Covid-hit nation with more than 450,000 official deaths is India. Thousands of women faced the agony of Covid-19 as the pandemic left them newly widowed, struggling to adapt to a new life without their partner.
Many of these women have never been in a paying job before. Female labour force participation in India is less than 21% which is one of the lowest in the world.
Many families have lost their sole bread winner which is generally a male in Indian society. The Indian society widely has patriarchal norms at home meaning the family is financially dependent on the male and financial decisions are majorly taken by male. Post Covid-19 pandemic the world changed overnight for many of these newly widows. All of sudden, they are struggling with the double burden of grief and financial difficulties.
Further as per World Bank in 2017, Indian women were nearly 13% less likely than men to be able to get funds in case of a disaster and 6% Indian women were less likely than men to have a bank account. This indirectly indicates that Indian women are also significantly less likely than men to own a mobile phone or use mobile internet.
In absence of knowledge and access to information it is harder for these women to even know about the announcement by Indian Government to compensate families of those who died of Covid-19 with a sum of 50,000 rupees. Similarly, financial literacy in India amongst male is 27% and among female is just 20% as per rating agency Standard and Poor’s (S&P). While globally the same is 35% among male and 30% among females. Financial literacy is lower in India and gender gap is wider.
Many of these women in the community are now suffering with mental health issues such as depression, survivor's guilt, and even suicidal tendencies, some are facing inheritance issues, in-laws not permitting them to stay back, many not able to pay their children’s school fees, many don’t know how insurance works. They are struggling to make ends meet.
We at Independent You encourage these women to re-enter the workforce. We are on mission to support 250 females for leading a better life. We provide them necessary career guidance and support. We run skill development programs to get them the right jobs. Many of the women have hobbies that they are passionate about, and we help grow these into start-ups and small businesses. With the right support, we want to empower them with a sustainable source of income.