Informality and the Pandemic - Lives of Domestic Workers and Street Vendors in Delhi During Covid-19
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COVID-19 has deepened existing social inequalities and heightened the risks for economic precarity, gender based violence as well as aggravated the lack of access to sexual and reproductive health and rights among marginalized groups. As countries move to mitigate the health costs of the pandemic, the policy choices they made carry economic and social costs largely borne by vulnerable and low-income populations, among whom women are the most affected. The lockdown brought economies to a grinding halt, overwhelmingly impacting women workers in the informal economy, including daily- and hourly-wage workers, those paid task-by-task and self-employed and home-based workers. Women engaged in such jobs suffered both immediate and medium-term economic losses resulting from the restricted movement of goods, produce and people. Such an economic shock has profound implications on incomes, employment and overall economic well-being. It negatively affects the ownership and control over assets, access to resources (required for food, security or shelter) as well as overall financial autonomy of women workers. It is critical therefore to document how women workers and their well being has been affected by the policy response to the pandemic and the possibilities of their resilience and recovery. In the current research, which is part of the Rebuild project (Rebuild-COVID-19 and Women in the Informal Economy in Kenya, Uganda and India, 2020) ICRW takes an intersectional approach to understand the interaction of COVID-19 related health and economic shocks, and the policy responses with pre-existing gender and other social norms impacting livelihood, experiences of GBV and SRHR outcomes for women who work in the urban informal economy. This report is based on a formative research conducted in the National Capital Region of India.