“It is as if They are Taking Advantage of a Bad Situation”


This article analyzes six female school teachers’ narratives of navigating increased care work at home with online teaching during COVID-19 in India. A theoretical framework of decolonizing feminist research, with an emphasis on moving beyond Anglo/Eurocentric forms of feminist knowledge-making, frames the study. Based on the interviews, the research reveals that the home emerged as a site for resistance to the gendered division of care work in marriages via the use of the tactical strategy of relying on family members other than the husband. Within the limited scope of the study, the schools emerged as sites of institutional betrayal manifested in administrative actions and inactions such as removing contractual teachers, scheduling meetings outside work hours, increasing surveillance, and not providing digital support. These administrative decisions were perceived by the participants as motivated by profit-making; displaying complete disregard for the teachers’ well-being. The findings advance our understanding of how emergencies such as COVID-19 exacerbate the exploitation of those female members in the labor force who are already marginalized through contractual undervalued work or the inordinate burden of caregiving. It also offers important suggestions for policy makers concerned with creating safe and inclusive working spaces for female teachers in the global south.

“It is as if They are Taking Advantage of a Bad Situation”: Female School Teachers’ Narratives About Care Work and Online Teaching during Covid-19 in India
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