Increasing discrimination at work..a bitter pill for women to swallow

Indian women earn 19 per cent less than men found a study. The health crisis has widened the already existing pay-gap in the professional domain. Women are burdened with the ‘zero-pay’ labour of family roles during the crisis and men are the ones bagging the chances - is this Virus even fair? No! 

As per a previous study, nearly 60% of working women surveyed in India felt discrimination at work. Given  the volatile conditions, most organisations are preferring men more than women considering long hours of work and quick result-oriented roles—for which they choose men given a bias for aggression and ability to devote more hours to work. Before the pandemic too, over one-third of the women felt that they were not fairly considered for top management roles, and the pandemic has just increased the income and opportunity disparity for women in comparison to the working men.  

Even the most evolved of the managements and organisations believe that a woman’s primary role is to take care of the house and her family and any income-generating work are secondary for her. They like to believe that during an emergency, if a woman has to choose between family and her job, she would choose her family, thereby wasting the training, and the input cost of the organization. They assume that men won’t make the same choice.

If a lay-off has to be done, the axe falls on women employees first, since it is assumed that their husbands would be working and so sustenance for the family won’t be an issue, versus laying off a male employee. Most women feel that they do not even have a say when it comes to work opportunities. It is simply assumed for them leaving them powerless, helpless and angry.

Also, globally women are in more vulnerable jobs which are the first to be chopped off to deal  with the financial shocks. More women are into intellectual roles, personnel-dealings, advisory, teaching, creative fields, hospitality, marketing and jobs related to beauty, skincare, cosmetics, fashion and affiliated fields—industries which will take a major blow in the pandemic.

The fight for women empowerment had helped win women the opportunities they deserved but with the COVID crisis, women have a higher risk of being victims of job loss and layoffs let alone the worry of getting enough meaty projects.

Even in the healthcare industry, women are not getting their fair share. With the increasing number of patients, the workload has increased and women/nurses are the saviours of the hour. In India, the nurses and midwives constitute 83.4% female health workforce who provide palliative care to the sick and infirm, and in the absence of medical doctors, deal with emergencies first-hand and still, they get paid less than their male counterparts. 

With the recession and economic downfall, men and women are both facing job difficulties - but with the given conditions, men are more likely to get jobs than women. In addition, men would even try to compete with the women in small-scale opportunities and jobs in order to make a living but it will just worsen the opportunities for women in the long role.