Title: The COVID-19 Pandemic and Gendered Division of Paid and Unpaid Work: Evidence from India
Discussant: Vidhya Soundarajan

We conducted the first Consumer Pyramids Research Seminar on 19 October 2020 at 6.00 PM IST.

Event Summary

Kaushik Krishnan, Chief Economist at CMIE, commenced the session by introducing Ashwini Deshpande, Vidhya Soundarajan, and the CPHS Research Seminar Series to an enthusiastic audience. Thereafter, Prof Deshpande presented results from her paper on the pandemic’s gendered impact using CMIE data on employment, hours spent on domestic work, and income.

Total employment dropped from 400 million to approximately 260 million in the month of April 2020, with the largest relative drop experienced by rural women. While the biggest fall in employment came for illiterate women, highly educated women were able to retain employment, though, by August 2020, there was a decline in their employment proportions.

To study the precise effect of the pandemic, Deshpande performed a DiD which indicated that in April 2020, the gap between the probability of employment for men and women declined, though by August 2020 gender gaps increased again. Results on sharing housework indicated that average hours spent on domestic work for men increased till the gender gap narrowed significantly. Concerning women’s well-being, Deshpande found that average hours spent with friends drastically declined in April 2020, across urban and rural India. She concluded by highlighting the need for greater real-time gender-disaggregated data.

Vidhya Soundarajan, the discussant for the paper, recommended that Deshpande discuss the mechanisms behind the DiD results of differential job loss and recovery in more detail. She suggested including further results on female employment probability in the paper, and methods for adding fixed effects in the lagged dependent variable model. She outlined additional questions that could be explored using the same dataset.

Following the discussion, Professor Deshpande responded to the comments and concluded the session.

Use of CMIE Product implies acceptance of the usage agreement & privacy policy   ♦   FAQs   ♦  Diagnosis