Caste, gender, labor and COVID-19 in the urban informal economy: a review of experiences in three selected sectors

One of the key questions posed in the research within the Rebuild project is to understand how COVID-19 exacerbated pre-existing vulnerabilities for women in the urban informal economy. The backdrop of the pandemic has exposed many layers of social disenfranchisement and vulnerabilities. Situate vulnerabilities fundamentally within the context of historical marginalization and structural inequities that inhibit sections of the population to participate as equal citizens in civic, political and economic opportunities. Also posit that economic and social vulnerabilities are tightly bound and form webs of vulnerability. A major cross-section of this web is influenced by caste, gender, and labor. Through this review, intended to explore and showcase how occupational segregation based on certain social hierarchies continues to define who can participate in the economy, in what capacity and implications of this participation during a crisis, such as COVID-19.