IPS Researchers Advocate Women’s Health and Economic Empowerment at the Asia Regional Learning Workshop for Women RISE

26-27 July 2023

The Asia Regional Learning Workshop for Women RISE, an initiative aimed at fostering women’s health and economic empowerment during the COVID-19 recovery phase, took place on 26-27 July, 2023, at the University of Monash, Malaysia. This collaborative event was funded by the International Development Research Centre (IDRC) and brought together research teams from low- and middle-income countries and from Canada, to support gender-transformative research.

Representing the IPS IDRC-Women RISE research team were IPS Research Fellow Dr Asanka Wijesinghe, IPS’ Director of Research Dr Nisha Arunatilake, and IPS Research Fellow Dr Erandathie Pathiraja, along with Mr Anuradha Kumarasiri from the National Planning Department. During the workshop, Dr Asanka Wijesinghe presented the progress of the project titled “A Participatory Study on Improving Pandemic Policy Responses to Reduce Adverse Health Effects on Women Workers in the Export Sector of Sri Lanka.” His presentation highlighted the urgent need for a pandemic response protocol in Sri Lanka’s apparel sector and demonstrated how the research objectives aligned with the United Nations Global Research Priorities for recovering from COVID-19. Dr Wijesinghe also shared the preliminary results of the team’s studies, inviting comments and suggestions from peer research teams.

The workshop featured 23 research projects from organizations in Asia and Africa, all geared toward developing inclusive, sustainable, and equitable policies. The primary focus of the regional event was to encourage knowledge sharing and collaboration among the five Asian research teams involved in the Women RISE project.

To enrich the learning experience, the workshop included training sessions by Health Policy Research Organization (HPRO) resource persons, Dr Melania Chiponda, Ms Jane Mangwana, and Ms Lynette Kamau. These sessions covered knowledge translation and transformation, gender-sensitive data collection, and the role of political engagement in shaping policy outcomes.

The HPRO played a pivotal role in organising the event, providing a platform for research organizations with similar objectives to come together. Participants shared experiences, insights, and ideas, all aimed at achieving gender transformative policy changes and empowering women’s health and economic well-being in the aftermath of the COVID-19 pandemic.