Building community-centered social infrastructure: a feminist inquiry into China’s COVID-19 experiences

Yang Zhan, Ying Chen, Zhongjin Li

Research output: Journal article publicationJournal articleAcademic researchpeer-review


The global COVID-19 pandemic has revealed the essential role of care work in sustaining life, health, and maintaining the basics of everyday existence. It has also made visible the disproportionate burden of care work on women that existed before the outbreak, which has intensified rapidly and been gravely exposed during the pandemic. In this article, we take China as a case study to investigate the gendered impact of this pandemic and further problematize the landscape of care provision. With a feminist political economy perspective, we introduce China’s provisioning of care prior to the outbreak and investigate how the care crisis has further deepened in the pandemic. Drawing on the most recent data available on China’s experience, we explore the role and function of community-centered social infrastructure, an assemblage of state, family, and local resources, in effectively combating the virus and providing care. We further provide comparative international evidence to demonstrate the essential role of community care infrastructure in this pandemic. Building social infrastructure to deliver care at the community level presents important policy implication, especially for many developing countries. Therefore, a critical reflection and discussion on pandemics and women is not only more vital than ever, but also sheds light on the endeavour to develop long-term solutions for the care crisis that will almost certainly outlive the current pandemic.
Original languageEnglish
JournalEconomia Politica
Publication statusPublished - Apr 2022


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