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The “invisible” among the marginalised: Do gender and intersectionality matter in the Covid-19 response?

Manisha Dutta , Drishti Agarwal, M Sivakami

DOI: 10.20529/IJME.2020.086


Abstract

The spread of Covid-19 and the lockdown have brought in acute deprivation for rural, marginalised communities with loss of wages, returnee migrants and additional state-imposed barriers to accessing facilities and public provisions. Patriarchal norms amplified in such a crisis along with gender-blind state welfare policies have rendered women in these communities “invisible”. This has impacted their access to healthcare, nutrition and social security, and significantly increased their unpaid work burden. Several manifestations of violence, and mental stress have surfaced, diminishing their bare minimum agency and rights and impacting their overall health and wellbeing. This article looks at these gendered implications in the context of rural, tribal and high migrant areas of South Rajasthan. We have adopted an intersectional approach to highlight how intersections of several structures across multiple sites of power: the public, the private space of the home and the woman’s intimate space, have reduced them to ultra-vulnerable groups.

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