How COVID-19 impacted my life

Meet Henly Sonmany. She works as an assistant to the head of unit in a Laotian garment company. She talks about her work and explains how the COVID-19 pandemic has affected her life.

Asia is the largest global hub for the garment industry. In Lao People’s Democratic Republic, the garment industry is the leading manufacturing sector. It employs around 28’000 workers.

This sector contributed 32% to Laos’s GDP in 2019. The main body of the workforce are young, low-skilled women from rural areas. In recent years, the share of women working in the garment industry has increased.

The COVID-19 pandemic has hit the global economy and mainly affected sectors linked to the global value chain, like the garment industry. This global crisis has seriously affected the livelihoods of workers and is posited as a factor that can push them into poverty.

Due to pre-existing gender inequalities in this sector, women are at greater risk of being hit by the negative effects of the pandemic. In order to cope with the crisis and for a sustainable development of the industry, gender-responsive measures and policies are necessary to address the different realities of male and female workers.

Photo of Henley Sonmany during the interview at HiTec Garment company in Vientiane, Laos.

Henley Sonmany during the interview with Bounseng Khammounty

Henley Sonmany works in the garment industry in Vientiane, the capital of Lao. Listen to her statements. What do you think – has the COVID-19 pandemic affected women and men differently? If so how? Take some notes.