Informal women workers and the COVID-19 pandemic: Voices from Asia and the Pacific

An illustration showing four persons. One is holding a child. Two have their arms around each other and are facing away.
  1. Food Insecurity caused by loss of jobs during lockdowns and Enhanced Community Quarantine (ECQ) periods, unreliable job recalls, low income, rising prices of food items, and low nutritional levels because of poor quality/quantity of food;
  2. Loss of Wages experienced by most informal workers in the region — a domestic workers’ union from South Asia reported that no wages were paid during the lockdown period;
  3. Loss of Jobs that further compounded problems faced by informal workers, including domestic workers and migrant workers, as employers refused to re-hire them due to fears of COVID-19 infections and their own financial difficulties;
  4. Inadequate State Aid, which meant that informal workers were often left out of relief measure efforts, or had to face delays and disrespectful behaviour to access meagre government aid;
  5. Elderly Workers who could often not access government-subsidised medicines and could not negotiate lighter workloads;
  6. Increased militarisation and police checks, initiated to reinforce restrictions and impose “cruel punishments” on citizens forced to come out for food, cash, or help;
  7. Lack of Information from the government on the local COVID-19 situation and relief efforts;
  8. Lack of Mobility and public transportation that affected choices of migrant workers;
  9. Urban-centric Policies that do not look into the distinct context of rural areas.

Gendered realities of women workers and rights defenders

Women are responding with collective models of care and support



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Urgent Action Fund Asia & Pacific

Urgent Action Fund Asia & Pacific


A regional women’s human rights and feminist fund that protects, strengthens and sustains women and non-binary human rights defenders in Asia and the Pacific