Women’s economic empowerment and COVID-19: the case of vulnerable women with intersectional identities in Indonesia and Vietnam
In recent decades, ASEAN has seen significant progress in gender equality and women’s empowerment. However, advances have not been even and vulnerable women with a range of intersectional identities have not benefited to the same extent as more privileged women or their male counterparts. Moreover, despite ASEAN’s much-lauded success in COVID-19 prevention and containment, the economic gains that had been achieved for women and girls are rapidly losing ground. Disruptions in the tourism sector, labour migration, and international trade have had a devastating economic impact on vulnerable populations, while innovations and new implementation approaches have provided some relief for low-income communities. This paper describes the COVID-19 economic fallout for women homeworkers and labour migrants engaged in informal jobs in Indonesia and low-income ethnic minority women in agriculture and tourism sectors in north-west Vietnam. It discusses early experiences and learning on pivoting projects, funded by the Government of Australia, to be COVID-19 responsive and contribute to longer-term recovery.