11 July 2023 | Report

Trends in women’s economic empowerment amidst the COVID-19 pandemic in Indonesia, the Philippines, and Vietnam

Gender Norms


This report synthesises literature primarily published during the initial stages of the COVID-19 pandemic through 2021 to explore the impact of the pandemic on gender norms and women’s economic empowerment in Indonesia, the Philippines, and Vietnam. It aims to understand the current state of evidence on gender norms and women’s economic empowerment across these three countries to inform gender norms campaigns by Investing in Women partner organisations during this period.

This literature review was guided by four main research questions:

  1. What are the current trends in gender norms?
  2. How does COVID-19 affect gender norms?
  3. How are gender norms facilitating or impeding women’s economic empowerment?
  4. What approaches have been more effective in shifting gender norms?


  • Digital platforms and online financial services have become significant growth drivers for women-led enterprises during the pandemic, emphasising the role of digitisation in promoting financial inclusion and entrepreneurship among women.
  • Despite advancements, women continue to perform more unpaid care work, impacting their economic participation and highlighting the need for interventions to address the unequal distribution of household responsibilities.
  • Positive trends in girls’ education and decreasing support for early marriage suggest shifting attitudes towards gender norms.
  • The pandemic highlighted the resilience of women in the labour force, with evidence suggesting women re-entered the workforce more quickly than men post-lockdown, whilst facing persistent challenges.
  • The report calls for targeted policy interventions and sustained efforts to shift gender norms, leverage digital opportunities, and address systemic barriers to women’s economic empowerment.

Download Resources Here

Published by: Investing in Women

View other Resources