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 supports women’s equal economic participation, particularly related to the care economy.

Challenges and Approach

A combination of barriers contributes to low rates of women’s participation in the workforce in Southeast Asia, constrains women’s ability to grow their businesses, and limits women’s ability to capitalise on the digital transformation underway in regional economies. One of such barriers is that women are disproportionately shouldering the responsibility of care for children, people with disabilities, and those who are elderly or sick. The Covid-19 pandemic has worsened the gender disparity on 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 paid care workers who face poor working conditions.

In keeping with the overall approach of targeting the 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 be implemented under Enabling Policy Reforms, with 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 local credible local institutions with capability to integrate private sector experiences and perspectives into policy dialogues.

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