A recent study of Brac has found that 65% women entrepreneurs had no income, while 58% women working in the informal sectors had no jobs between February and June during the government imposed holidays to tackle the Covid-19 pandemic, according to a press release.
Consequently, women entrepreneurs and informal sector workers respectively suffered 67% and 66% income decline.
Subsequently, these women (90% entrepreneurs and 84% informal sector workers) faced various challenges during the pandemic. But they showed resilience to fight back and recuperate from the losses, it adds.
The findings and recommendations of the study titled "Situation of women. CMSME entrepreneurs and informal sector workers: A rapid assessment and quest for recovery from losses induced by Covid-19 pandemic" were revealed at a digitally organised discussion on Thursday.
Brac Gender Justice and Diversity (GJ&D) Programme, with support from Advocacy for Social Change conducted the study. A total of 1,589 respondents (589 entrepreneurs and 1,000 workers) in 174 upazilas of 28 districts joined the survey conducted from 8 to 24 July 2020, it adds.
Brac director Nobonita Chowdhury moderated the virtual event titled "Women Affected in Workplaces and Businesses." KM Abdus Salam, secretary to the Ministry of Labour and Employment joined the event as chief guest.
BRAC ED Asif Saleh, BRAC senior directors Shameran Abed and KAM Morshed, among others, joined the discussion as panelist.
The study found one-third (33%) of the entrepreneurs had to shut their businesses and 41% had to lay off their workers during the pandemic. Further, 86% entrepreneurs could not take any measures to cope with business challenges, and 39% informal sector workers had to borrow money to survive, it reads.
The stimulus package announced for enterprises by the government found to have failed for the entrepreneurs as only 29% of them had knowledge about it.
What the panelists say
Addressing the discussion, chief guest KM Abdus Salam said the government is bringing about strategic changes in forming different policies.
"We expect the real picture of poverty will be changed by December and we will be able to fight back again," Secretary Salam added.
Brac ED Asif Saleh said, "If we are determined to overcome the crises we have been facing in the past four to five months, the country will definitely move ahead from its present state."
Our government, social organisations and NGOs need to work together to ensure that marginalised groups like women do not get rather more marginalised in this crisis, Saleh added.