CSES in Media

Kerala: ‘Working from home’ tougher for women

This report on CSES study was published in Times of India on 14-04-2021

More women than men work from home in post-COVID times in Kerala, and consequently, they feel more socially isolated, according to a study. The study says the proportion of women working from home is 21% higher than that of men. While before lockdown, only 8% women and 3% men worked from home, post-lockdown the numbers have jumped to 55% and 34%, respectively.

The study “How did Covid-19 impact Malayalis?” conducted by Centre for Socio-economic & Environmental Studies (CSES) collected responses from 1,030 persons. Men and women took part in the survey in equal numbers, all of them were adults and
a majority were graduates.

“More women continue to work from home even after the restrictions were relaxed. It is partly because of their limited access to private vehicles to go to work. Yet another reason is the restrictions imposed by families on their mobility over ‘safety concerns,” said N Ajith Kumar, director, CSES, Kerala.

The safety concerns have limited the opportunities for them. “Their social life has also been curtailed as for many women, the
work environment is where they have more socialising opportunities, which they value much,” said N Ajith Kumar, director,
CSES, Kerala.

“The pandemic has aggravated the burden of responsibilities at home for both genders, with women having a higher share of
the burden compared to men,” said Aswathi Rebecca Asok, research associate, CSES.

The study showed that post-COVID while women spend more time on cleaning, washing, cooking and taking care of children,
men are now increasingly concerned with purchasing household items.

Interestingly, almost one year into working from home a majority (45 %) felt it is not suitable for them. While 66 % women
complained of loss of social life and interaction, 51 % men raised concerns over reduced teamwork, even as a majority agreed
that reduced travel difficulties are a bonus.

“We are increasingly seeing working women who are stressed out and anxious as work from home becomes the new norm.
The functionality of home has changed from a shelter for relationships to a place where people have to work, study and create
their own individual space and due to this even domestic conflicts have increased,” said psychiatrist Dr CJ John.