The spread of COVID19 is wreaking economic havoc and impacting workers in industries from airlines to tourism.Informal employment is prevalent for both men and women across Asia and women in low-paid informal work such as cleaning and cooking or caring for children, many without proper contracts or social protection, are bearing the brunt of widespread job cuts.
Babysitter.hk, a Hong Kong website which links nannies to parents, said demand had dropped due to parents working from home more and fears about child-minders and other outsiders introducing the virus into households.
The Asian Migrants' Coordinating Body (AMCB), a regional domestic workers' advocacy group, said hundreds of women from the Philippines or Indonesia were likely to lose their job as the economy slowed and families let go of their helpers.
Most of these women are the sole breadwinner back home, bolstering the economies by sending back millions of dollars each year in remittances.
"The impact from the virus is only going to get worse," said AMCB spokesman Eman Villanueva,
Women more often work in precarious and lower-paid sectors like domestic work and agriculture, lacking benefits like pensions and parental leave.
"Women are hit harder by economic impacts such as those COVID-19 is driving, especially as women disproportionately work in insecure labour," said Mohammad Naciri, the head of U.N. Women in Asia. "An even greater burden is placed on women where health systems are overloaded or schools are closed, as care for children or sick family members largely falls on women."