The pandemic has not only hit people’s health but has also hit their businesses and employment. The derailment has resulted in a drop in sales and many sectors are struggling to survive. The hardest-hit sections are women and people with different needs. They either have lost their job or juggling with their work. Due to lockdown, millions of migrants left for their native places, where women were required to to take care of home and caregiving responsibilities too. According to a study published in the journal Springer, during the lockdown, approximately 22.5% of married women, as compared to zero men and unmarried women, worked for more than 70 hours/week.
Multiple reports across the globe showed that women had been dropping out of jobs at an alarming rate. Unlike previous economic downturns, the one caused by the outbreak of coronavirus earlier this year has resulted in greater loss of employment among women across the world. The situation has worsened because of the closure of schools and daycare centers, as the responsibility of caregiving has fallen disproportionately on women.
The pandemic has become a serious threat to the progress made by women in the last economic expansion, when they accounted for a large share of employment growth. As per the World Bank (modelled estimates of International Labour Organization, or ILO), India’s Female Labour Force Participation Rate (LFPR) was at 23.4% as of 2019, which is the lowest among its neighbouring countries. The pandemic has only worsened this situation.
A group of Indian Institute of Technology, Delhi (IIT-Delhi) alumnus has joined hands to launch a global platform: Inclusive Innovation in new normal (INSquare). The platform’s mission is to promote sustainable and equal opportunities for all, focusing on women, differently-abled and tribal groups, by partnering with private and government organizations globally. Stakeholders from India, Singapore, Australia and the USA are a part of this initiative.
The other larger group that is worse hit by coronavirus is people with different needs. United Nations (UN) has made efforts to ease down the problems faced by this particular section. “We must guarantee the equal rights of people with disabilities to access healthcare and lifesaving procedures during the pandemic” UN Secretary-General António Guterres at the launch of Policy Brief on Persons with Disabilities and COVID-19. Despite all these efforts there a lot more than has to be done. Understanding this, a group of Indian Institute of Technology, Delhi (IIT-Delhi) alumnus has joined hands to launch a global platform: Inclusive Innovation in new normal (INSquare). The platform’s mission is to promote sustainable and equal opportunities for all, focusing on women, differently-abled and tribal groups, by partnering with private and government organizations globally. Stakeholders from India, Singapore, Australia and the USA are a part of this initiative.
The objective of this platform is to provide a voice and medium of expression to women and minorities to share challenges and success stories alike. It also emphasizes to promote initiatives to increase female and minority participation and equal opportunities in private, government and other organizations. One of the key areas where it will work is, strengthen female participation in MSME (Micro, Small and Medium Enterprises).
“New Normal and advent of 4th industrial revolution have created both new threats and new opportunities for women/ minorities/ differently abled populations. Technology-enabled solutions are on the rise, which can benefit women, e.g. security solutions. However, Female Labor Force Participation is declining. This is the right time where new opportunities for inclusive innovation for future organizations can be tapped” says the document released by the platform. It also says that ethnically diverse companies are 35% more likely to outperform their peers and inclusions improves retentions and attract top performers. Diverse workforce sparks creativity, helps solve complex and challenging problems, the document says.
The people who are involved in this initiative are Pradeep Khanna, Executive Director, Asia Pacific, Sydney Chapter President and Global Co- Chair Education for the global VR AR Association, and Chief Executive Officer (CEO) of Global Mindset. Aparna Saroagi heads the Natwest Markets Credit Risk, India team and is a co-founder of the Women Entrepreneurship and Empowerment Foundation (WEE). Dr. Mita Brahma Ray is a management consultant, faculty and coach. Aanchal Kumar, Dr. Prem Lata Sharma and Yogesh Andlay are other members.
India Science Wire