Sanchari Roy and Nalini Gulati discuss livelihoods and mental well-being in India during Covid19
This session will discuss the impact of the Covid19 crisis on gendered dimensions of employment and mental health among urban informal-sector workers in India, based on our recent research study in Delhi. We find that men’s employment declined by 84 percentage points post-pandemic, while their monthly earnings fell by 89 per cent.
In contrast, women did not experience any significant impact on employment. We also document very high levels of pandemic-induced mental stress, with wives reporting greater stress than husbands.
This gendered pattern in mental stress is partly explained by men’s employment losses, which affected wives more than husbands. In contrast, staying employed during the pandemic is associated with worse mental health for both women and their (unemployed) husbands, possibly due to internalization of “male breadwinner” norms. Finally, we find that pre-existing social networks appear to increase mental stress for women compared to men, potentially due to “stress-contagion” effects.