Home >News >India >Indian women at 2.7x higher risk of covid death than white women, says report
Globally 70% of the health and social care workforce is female. Women are more likely to be front-line health workers, especially nurses, midwives and community health workers, says a report titled 'From Insights to Action: Gender Equality in the wake of covid-19'. (PTI)
Globally 70% of the health and social care workforce is female. Women are more likely to be front-line health workers, especially nurses, midwives and community health workers, says a report titled 'From Insights to Action: Gender Equality in the wake of covid-19'. (PTI)

Indian women at 2.7x higher risk of covid death than white women, says report

  • There's a greater risk of covid-19 related deaths for women from minority groups, according to a report commissioned by UN Women and UNDP
  • By 2030, for every 100 men aged 25–34 living in poverty in southern Asia there will be 129 poor women, an increase from 118 in 2021, says the report

NEW DELHI: Indian women are at 2.7 times more risk of dying of covid-19 compared to white women, indicated a provisional analysis done by the UN Women and United Nations Development Programme (UNDP).

The data was summarised in the report titled 'From Insights to Action: Gender Equality in the wake of covid-19' released this month. In it the agency examines the repercussions of the pandemic from the lens of gender equality and uncovers the challenges faced by women globally.

"The differential impact of covid-19 on poor and marginalized communities, particularly women and children is evident from emerging evidence. Evidence from past epidemics like Ebola and Zika have shown that less than 1% of the available research covered the gender dimension on the epidemics," said Poonam Muttreja, executive director of Population Foundation of India and a public health expert.

Various recent reports have indicated that the status of women is particularly threatened in low- and middle-income countries due to pre-pandemic issues such as economic and social inequalities, which are further exacerbated by the barriers faced by them in access to health services.

“The UN report, brings to the forefront, the fact that even in developed countries like the US and UK, similar disparities exist by sex, race and ethnicity. This greater risk of covid-19 related deaths for women from minority groups is a reflection of the social, economic, health-care related challenges faced by them in their daily lives, which act as compounding factors," she said adding that these disparities exist in India and there is a major urban-rural divide in the country, based on geographical location, income, caste, among other complex societal factors.

The report also said that covid-19 pandemic exposed women’s precarious economic security. In Asia and the Pacific, more women (50%) than men (35%) in formal employment reported drops in working time. The report also highlighted that in Europe and Central Asia, 25% of self-employed women reported job losses, compared to 21% self-employed men. The report also said that globally 70% of the health and social care workforce is female, and they are more likely to be front-line health workers, especially nurses, midwives and community health workers.

“Globally, women have lesser income, hold less secure jobs and are more susceptible to loss of livelihoods due to the plummeting economic activity in the wake of the pandemic, which will get further amplified in developing countries," Muttreja said.

The projections, commissioned by UN Women and UNDP, and carried out by the Pardee Centre for International Futures at the University of Denver, show that while the pandemic will impact global poverty generally, women will be disproportionately affected, especially women of reproductive age. The report said South Asia is projected to experience a resurgence in extreme poverty. By 2030, for every 100 men aged 25–34 living in poverty in southern Asia there will be 129 poor women, an increase from 118 in 2021.

“There is no reason to believe that these pre-covid-19 problems will not play out in the covid-19 scenario. Despite the pandemic’s strain on health systems, policymakers and governments globally must ensure a gender-sensitive response to covid-19 where women’s perspectives are included in all aspects of covid-19 response planning and decision-making," Muttreja said.

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