As an organization focused on working with adolescent girls and children around the world to overcome oppression and gender inequality, Plan International USA believes in equality for all. We condemn all racist violence and discrimination against Asian American communities and racial injustice everywhere. Racial justice and gender justice are inextricably linked, and one cannot exist without the other. We cannot achieve equality for girls without achieving equality for Asian American girls and women.
Plan recognizes that gender inequality is compounded by race. Asian girls and women in the U.S. confront a history of discrimination and hyper-sexualization, and are more likely to experience harassment. A new report from “STOP AAPI HATE” found Asian American women reported hate incidents 2.3 times more than men. Asian American young people (17 years old or younger) reported 12.6% of incidents and seniors (60 years old or older) reported 6.2% of the total incidents in the last year. STOP AAPI Hate also found that businesses were the primary site of discrimination (35.4%), followed by public streets (25.3%) and public parks (9.8%). Online incidents accounted for 10.8% of the total incidents.
As evidenced in a Congressional hearing yesterday, hate incidents against Asian Americans have risen during the last year as a number of politicians have placed blame for COVID-19 on China. According to the Pew Research Center, three in 10 Asian Americans reported having experienced racial slurs or racist jokes since the beginning of the pandemic.
In a March 18 hearing, Asian American members of Congress from both parties spoke about the impact of COVID-19-related racist comments in their communities. U.S. Rep. Grace Meng (D-NY) said, “You don’t have to do it by putting a bull's-eye on the back of Asian Americans across the country, on our grandparents, on our kids. This hearing was to address the hurt and pain of our community to find solutions, and we will not let you take our voice away from us.” Later, U.S. Rep. Young Kim (R-CA) added, “This should not have to be said, but I want to be very clear: No American of any race or ethnic group is responsible for the COVID-19 pandemic. The virus does not discriminate.”
Plan fully supports the Asian American community, calls for giving voice to the concerns of Asian American girls and women, and supports legal and societal action to address these long-standing problems, which have been exacerbated by misinformation about COVID-19.