The Impact of COVID-19 on the Lives of Women in the Garment Industry: Evidence from Ethiopia

Monday, 15 June 2020

This research titled, 'The Impact of COVID-19 on the Lives of Women in the Garment Industry: Evidence from Ethiopia', has been co-authored by: Eyoual Demeke (World Bank), Morgan Hardy (New York University Abu Dhabi), Gisella Kagy (Vassar College), Christian Johannes Meyer (University of Oxford) and Marc Witte (New York University Abu Dhabi).

The CoVID-19 pandemic is upending industries and supply chains around the world.  In the global ready- made garment (RMG) industry, the sharp economic downturn has led to significant order cancellations, which in turn threaten the livelihoods of low-wage production workers in countries such as Ethiopia, where over the past decade, the government had encouraged foreign direct investment in the RMG industry and other light manufacturing, and invested massively into enabling infrastructure, and set up ten special economic zones (“industrial parks”) across the country.

In this project, the team conducted high-frequency phone surveys on a panel of garment factory workers in Ethiopia’s largest industrial park in the city of Hawassa to document how their lives are changing during the Coronavirus Disease.  They aim to obtain a representative sample of about 4,600 workers, with respondents interviewed on a bi-weekly basis for a total duration of six months. The draft paper reports findings over the past 2 months and with 3,163 respondents.

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Christian Johannes Meyer