The impact of the COVID-19 pandemic on garment workers is devastating. CARE’s assessments of women garment workers in countries such as Bangladesh and Vietnam found more than 90% of workers had to cut their spending on food and other essential goods. CARE Cambodia found that 88% of workers have reported that their income has reduced as a result of COVID-19. Women are particularly affected by reduced incomes; in Vietnam the rate of rate of income decline among female workers was 1.5 times higher than that of male workers.
CARE is now focused on protecting the rights and needs of women in the garment sector across our country portfolio in Asia and Africa. Our response efforts focus on supporting women workers to adopt COVID-19 prevention strategies, to access support services – including health but also psycho-social, sexual health and GBV services – and receive much needed financial support for themselves and their families, including through cash transfers. In addition, we are aligning our work with global efforts, including endorsement of the COVID-19 Call to Action in the Global Garment Industry and the Civil Society Shadow European Strategy for Sustainable Textiles, Garments, Leather, and Footwear. It is critical that we respond to the immediate needs of women workers, but also lay the groundwork for recovery.