The COVID-19 pandemic has exacerbated pre-existing inequalities and widened gender gaps. Migrant and refugee women experienced some of the highest unemployment rates due to layoffs and decreased availability of opportunities. Migrant and refugee women also face challenges due to gender expectations and the increased burdens of domestic work and unpaid care. The need for gendersensitive adapted responses to migration and forced displacement situations remains more important than ever. Both the Global Compact for Migration (GCM) and the Global Compact for Refugees (GCR) ensures the rights and needs of women and girls are respected at all stages, promoting their human rights, equality of access to services and opportunities, and empowerment.

There have been several initiatives aimed at supporting refugee and migrant women workers affected by COVID-19 in the region and the side event provided an opportunity to explore these, as well as learn of their important contributions to building back better.