Feminist Interventions and Emerging Issues in Southeast Asia in the Time of COVID-19

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This is a Scoping Paper that has mapped out how COVID-19 impacted the activities and interventions of feminist movements in Southeast Asia (SEA).

It aims to serve as a starting point for two audiences: those interested in gaining a broad overview of what is happening within this region and those looking to inform future strategies or discussions within the feminist movement. This report is a snapshot of many interventions, how they spread out, and brought networks together or brought them apart. Within this wide net that has been cast lies opportunities to further explore the new ways to collaborate across borders.

This Scoping Paper is divided into four main parts. The first part serves to introduce Southeast Asia as the geographical location of this study and the general nature of feminist movements in the region. The second part provides a discussion of formal and informal organizing as ways of implementing COVID-19 interventions. The third part outlines the commonalities across the SEA feminist movements and discusses how activists navigated challenges. This Scoping Paper concludes with a list of recommendations moving forward.

Product details
Date of Publication
31 January 2022
Heinrich-Böll-Stiftung Southeast Asia Regional Office
Number of Pages
All rights reserved
Language of publication
Table of contents

List of Acronyms & Terminologies p. 6

1. Introduction p. 7

2. Research design and limitations p. 10

3. Structural context of responses p. 12

4. Emerging trends in COVID-19 responses p. 16

4.1 Democracy advocacy: Feminists in the people’s movements p. 16

4.2 Creativity p. 17

4.3 Gender-based violence p. 20

4.3.a Call-out culture p. 21

4.4 Mental health p. 23

4.5 COVID-interrupted responses p. 24

4.6 COVID-specific responses p. 27

5. Negotiations and challenges p. 29

5.1 Funding p. 29

5.2 Digital space: Safety, security and surveillance p. 32

5.3 Online communities: Trust and authenticity p. 36

6. Opportunities and Recommendations p. 38

6.1 Internal transformations p. 38

6.2 Accessibility p. 38

6.3 Explore digital feminist facilitation p. 40

6.4 Mental health as priority p. 41

7. Advocacy Needs p. 43

7.1 Urgent action: Myanmar and West Papua in violent space of conflict p. 43

7.2 Gender disaggregation data p. 43

7.3 Equal access to online space p. 44

7.4 Going green p. 44

7.5 Healthcare: Sexual Reproductive Health Rights (SRHR) and vaccine equality p. 45

7.6 Increased capacity to deal with GBV and OGVB p. 46

8. Conclusion p. 47