COVID-19, Global Value Chains, and the Impact on Gender: Evidence from the Garment and Electronics Sectors in Asia

1st May 2021
Author: Keir MacDonald

This report analyses the impact of COVID-19 on women in the global garment and electronics value chains, with a focus on women working in production in Asia. Building on a previous K4D assessment of COVID-19 and its implications for global value chains (Quak, 2020), this report addresses the need to understand how COVID-19 specifically impacts women in global value chains. The report seeks to answer the question “how have male and female workers been affected differently by the COVID-19 pandemic, particularly regarding employment and the ability to work differently?”. The review presented is based on existing evidence of the gendered impacts of COVID-19 on the garment and electronics value chains in Asia and draws on both academic and grey literature. At the time of research (March 2021), the evidence was relatively sparse, frequently relying on initial surveys completed early on in the pandemic. In addition, data disaggregated by gender is rare. Where these data are not available, our approach is to synthesise what we know about the impact of COVID-19 with what we know about the nature of gender in the garment and electronics sectors and to conclude the likely impacts of COVID-19 on gender.

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Suggested Citation

MacDonald, K. (2021). COVID-19, Global Value Chains, and the Impacts on Gender: Evidence from the Garment and Electronics Sectors in Asia. K4D Emerging Issues Report No 43, Brighton, UK: Institute of Development Studies. DOI: 10.19088/K4D.2021.074


1st May 2021


Continent: Asia

Country: Bangladesh, Cambodia, China, Myanmar