Enabling Policy Reforms

We work with credible local institutions to strengthen the evidence base and collective action needed to influence and inform policy reforms that support women’s equal economic participation, particularly related to the care economy.

Challenges and Approach

Several barriers contribute to low rates of women’s participation in the workforce in Southeast Asia, constrain women’s ability to grow their businesses, and limit women’s ability to capitalise on the digital transformation underway in regional economies. One such barrier is that women disproportionately carry responsibility for care of children, people with disabilities, and those who are elderly or sick. The Covid-19 pandemic worsened gender disparities related to unpaid care work, pushing millions of women out of the workforce as default caregivers for children or sick family members. At the same time, women make up the majority of the paid care workforce and frequently face poor working conditions.

In keeping with the our approach of targeting structural barriers that prevent or constrain women’s economic participation, Investing in Women will identify and contribute to policy or regulatory reforms in three target countries (Indonesia, Vietnam, and the Philippines) that support better access to quality care services.

This work will have a sharp focus on the evidence-base and collective action needed to influence and inform policy change that supports women’s economic empowerment. IW will work with credible local institutions with capability to integrate private sector experiences and perspectives into policy dialogues.

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