Building back better: An intersectional feminist approach to COVID-19 recovery

Published: 6 November 2020

In the Victorian context, targeted investment in services and programs that enable migrant women in Victoria to attain their optimum health and wellbeing is critical when it comes to building a COVID-19 response and recovery plan. For migrant women, recovery means being able to participate actively in meaningful, stable, and appropriately valued and remunerated jobs. The industries and forms of employment in which migrant women are concentrated – aged care, manufacturing, hospitality, cleaning, retail should be specifically targeted in support and recovery programs. For example, women who work in industries that have been shut down through the pandemic such as hospitality and retail will need support to re-engage and re-train. Those who have worked through the pandemic in manufacturing, aged care, childcare or health care must be valued as essential service workers. In addition, significant barriers to equitable work, such as gender and race discrimination in employment need to be addressed.

Migrant women are valuable leaders and their leadership will be particularly important during COVID-19 recovery. Migrant women should be included in all levels of consultation, planning, design and decision-making. Leadership programs that are specifically tailored to cater for migrant women’s needs, and that build on migrant women’s existing capabilities, should be developed and delivered. This includes ensuring all women have access to digital technology so as enable them to participate in education and employment opportunities.

COVID-19 has laid bare the health, social and economic inequities between us, but it has also made us see how connected we all are. Recovery must build on those connections, strengthen them and deepen them, constructing the future on a solid foundation.