Gender Matters: COVID-19 and the labour market in the Global South

Webinar Video

  • Title: Gender Matters: COVID-19 and the labour market in the Global South
  • Date: Thursday, May 28, 2020
  • Time: 10:00-11:30 AM (EDT)
  • Duration: 1.5 Hours

Webinar summaries - Gender Matters: COVID-19 and the labour market in the Global South (PDF Version)


COVID-19 has become an unprecedented global crisis. The pandemic and its associated economic crisis have exposed deep structural inequalities around the world, with disproportionate effects on women and girls. This webinar will discuss current issues around COVID-19 and the labour market for women in the Global South. A diverse panel of experts from the worlds of international development research and practice will discuss research priorities and possible policy solutions for women in the labour market.

This is the first event in a series of research-to-practice Webinar on the gender dimensions of COVID19 organized by the Women’s Empowerment in Development (WED) Lab at McGill in partnership with the Institute for the Study of International Development and made possible thanks to funding from the Growth and Economic Opportunities for Women (GrOW 2) program, a multi-funder initiative by the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, the William and Flora Hewlett Foundation and Canada’s International Development Research Centre.


By mid-May 2020, health actors had confirmed more than 5.1 million cases of COVID-19, including more than 330,000 deaths in 213 countries around the world. While these figures are high, they do not adequately depict the gravity of the pandemic. As a result of restricting movement, halting travel, closing business, and disrupting global supply chains, COVID-19 has affected every aspect of human life.

As with other pandemics in recent history, women are particularly vulnerable. COVID-19 has further aggravated structural inequalities that systematically disadvantage women, specifically in the economic system. Economically, women are disproportionately impacted by the financial effects of the pandemic as the majority work in low-paid or informal jobs with few social protections. Around the globe, 740 million women work in the informal sector, which has been worst hit by the economic fall out of the coronavirus.

Given the current challenges, it is important to focus attention on the gender dimensions of COVID-19 on the labour market in the Global South.

  • Professor Ashwini Deshpande (Ashoka University)
  • Dr. Mary Njeri Kinyanjui (University of Nairobi)
  • Dr. Laura Alfers (WIEGO)
  • Dr. Lorena Alcazar (GRADE)