Decent Work in the Garment Sector Supply Chains in Asia

Investing in the post COVID–19 garment sector in Asia: How should gender and environment be integrated for decent work?

This participatory webinar will bring together experts and industry stakeholders from the ILO-Sida Decent Work in Garment Supply Chains Asia project to discuss the role of gender and environment in driving industry sustainability and explore approaches, partnerships and opportunities for integrating gender equality and environmental sustainability into the post-covid-19 recovery strategies in the sector.

2.00-3.15 p.m. (Bangkok Time GMT+7)

COVID–19 is having a devastating impact on the lives and livelihoods of women and men across the world. Recent ILO estimates for the second quarter of 2020 project a global loss of working hours that is equivalent to 305 million full-time jobs. For the garment sector –which employs some 60 million workers globally (80 percent female)- the impact is particularly acute, with dual risks from a severe health and economic crisis compounded by underlying structural weaknesses and gaps that undermine decent work prospects and threaten overall industry sustainability.

The pandemic has also highlighted pre-existing gender inequalities in the sector, with signs of increased care burdens for women, rising gender–based and domestic violence amid stay at home orders, and gaps in social protection and safety nets for millions of vulnerable workers. Perversely, COVID–19 has also significantly reduced the environmental impact of the sector in Asia –government lockdowns intended to limit the spread of the virus have drastically cut economic output, including through factory closures. However, this will quickly reverse as countries reopen and garment manufacturing resumes.

As countries and companies deploy their own ‘back to work’ plans, a key question arises: to what extent is gender equality and environmental sustainability a part of the sector’s response and recovery strategies, and what opportunities do we have to prevent a further widening of these gaps in the post-COVID-19 era?

This event will bring together experts and project stakeholders from the Decent Work in the Garment Sector Supply Chains in Asia project (ILO-Sida) to discuss strategies, partnerships and key entry points that can lead to gender equality and environmental sustainability being incorporated into the post- COVID–19 garment sector agenda. It will also identify ways the project and other stakeholders can support a gender- and environmentally– sensitive recovery.


Facilitator: Dr Cristina Martinez, Senior Specialist on Environment and Decent Work, ILO Regional office for Asia-Pacific in Bangkok

Presentations by Ms Joni Simpson, Senior Specialist, Gender, Equality and Non-Discrimination, Decent Work Technical Team for East Asia, South East Asia and the Pacific, ILO, and Dr Samantha Sharpe, Research Director, Institute for Sustainable Futures (ISF), University of Technology Sydney, Australia

Virtual break-out session discussing the following questions:
  • What challenges and opportunities for change in supporting gender equality and environmental priorities does the post COVID–19 period present for the garment sector?
  • What strategies, partnerships and key entry points should be prioritised by the garment sector to support gender and environmental priorities of the garment sector in Asia during the post COVID–19 period?
  • Reporting of group discussion and summary session


Dr Cristina Martinez is the ILO’s Senior Specialist in Environment and Decent Work. She is part of the ILO Global Team on Green Jobs and the Green Initiative. Previously she has worked at the following organizations: (i) the Asian Development Bank (ADB) as an Education Specialist (skills and employment); (ii) the Organisation for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD) were she held positions as Advisor of the knowledge Sharing Alliance at the Secretary General Office and Senior Policy Analyst at the OECD Centre for Entrepreneurship, SMEs and Local Development (CFE); and (iii) Western Sydney University as an Associate Professor.

Ms Joni Simpson is the ILO’s Senior Specialist in Gender, Equality and Non-Discrimination for East and South East Asia and the Pacific, based in Bangkok, Thailand. In her current role, she provides policy analysis, technical guidance and support on gender equality, non-discrimination and women’s economic empowerment and diversity inclusion approaches to ILO constituents and partners for policies, programmes and projects related to the world of work.

Dr Samantha Sharpe is a Research Director at the Institute for Sustainable Futures. She is a highly experienced social scientist and policy analyst. Her research focuses on the intersect between the 'world of work' and climate change. This includes research understanding the process of business and industrial transition to sustainability, at the firm, sector, and labour market levels, as well as industrial and occupational change associated with the green economy.

This webinar is by invite. For more information please contact