Centering community in COVID-19 responses: refugee women's livelihoods in a global pandemic
International Journal of Sociology and Social Policy
Article publication date: 1 December 2020
Issue publication date: 5 April 2022
The purpose of this commentary is to share preliminary findings from our ethnographic research on refugee women's livelihoods during the COVID-19 pandemic in Portland, Oregon (USA), and to highlight the significance of community efforts in providing gender-responsive measures that address the specific needs and challenges of refugee women.
This commentary draws on a mixed-method approach, including ethnographic research (interviews and observations) as well as an analysis of emerging research on the social implications of COVID-19 in the fields of migration and gender.
Refugee women's livelihoods have been impacted by the COVID-19 pandemic in various specific ways: from losing jobs and healthcare to becoming essential workers and assuming additional caretaker roles, to finding oneself again in unprecedented situations of limited mobility and social isolation. These impacts have been informed by restricted access to resources and services, lack of information about resources and services, and paramount fear due to ever-changing policy. Based on interviews and observations the authors conducted, they find that in many ways, community efforts have addressed the specific needs and challenges of refugee women in the absence of gender-responsive COVID-19 measures across institutional levels and policy areas.
In this commentary, the authors present original data from their ethnographic research on a particularly marginalized, yet resilient population: refugee women. By centering refugee women's experiences, the authors highlight the lack of gender-responsiveness in COVID-19 measures and provide insights into social implications of COVID-19 that often remain overlooked and understudied in discourse and politics.
Funding: This work was supported by the University of Portland College of Arts and Science Summer Research Grant (CAS SURE Grant) for Summer 2020.
Golesorkhi, L.-Z., Fortson, G., Harder, K. and Riedmann, T. (2022), "Centering community in COVID-19 responses: refugee women's livelihoods in a global pandemic", International Journal of Sociology and Social Policy, Vol. 42 No. 3/4, pp. 289-297. https://doi.org/10.1108/IJSSP-07-2020-0332
Emerald Publishing Limited
Copyright © 2020, Emerald Publishing Limited