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Adolescent girls' education contributes to a virtuous cycle that has proven positive impact on sustainable development. This report aims to examine progress and persistent gaps in our efforts to achieve gender equality in and through education since the adoption of the Beijing Declaration and Platform for Action in 1995, and to identify priority actions to be implemented within the Beijing+25 process, the Generation Equality Forum's Action Coalitions, and the Sustainable Development Goals. It shows the importance of adolescent girls' education and provides recommendations for collective action – in particular on three priority levers: Comprehensive sexuality education; the participation of adolescent girls in science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM); and the development of adolescent girls' leadership – drawing in particular on consultation processes among international organizations, civil society and adolescent girls in the run-up to the Forum. In all areas, specific levers, intersectoral approaches and multi-stakeholder partnerships are promoted.
This Spotlight paper presents the latest evidence on the gendered impact of the pandemic, highlights potential and emerging trends, and reflects on the long-term impact of the crisis on the achievement of the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development. First, it presents key facts and figures relating to the gendered impacts of COVID-19. Second, it reflects on the health impacts of COVID-19 on SDG 3 targets. Third, it explores the socioeconomic and political implications of COVID-19 on women and gender across five of the Goals: SDG 1 (poverty), 4 (quality education), 5 (gender equality), 8 (decent work and economic growth) and 10 (reduced inequalities). Fourth, it addresses the intersection of COVID-19 and other inequalities, showcasing the close links with SDGs 5, 6, 10 and 11. The Spotlight concludes by outlining policy priorities drawn from the evidence presented.
COVID-19 has affected men and women differently. Although more men have died from the pandemic, women’s mental health is taking a bigger toll, their workload at home has multiplied and their economic resources are dwindling. These effects are hard to capture, as social distancing measures have rendered traditional data collection methods impossible. In response to this challenge, UN Women’s Regional Office for Asia and Pacific turned to innovative solutions to pursue data collection at this critical time. UN Women engaged with national governments and mobile network operators to roll out a series of rapid assessment surveys in 11 Asia-Pacific countries.
Shimelis Tsegaye Tesemma
Throughout history, women and girls have been affected negatively and at a disproportionately higher rate by the outbreaks of epidemics and pandemics, and COVID-19 hasn’t been an exception. Existing social and cultural norms and practices that underlie structures of systemic gender discrimination and marginalisation glaringly manifest themselves. Otherwise hidden and suppressed attitudes and practices are laid bare as communities and institutions resort to instincts to control and survive within emergency situations. In Africa, an intersection of factors leaves girls and adolescents at greater risk of marginalisation, discrimination and neglect. Gender and social norms have traditionally placed girls at a greater disadvantage than other segments of the population. Pandemics, like other crises, often result in the breakdown of social infrastructure and services, leading to health, transport, food, sanitation, legal, security and other governance structures being temporarily contracted or becoming dysfunctional. This may result in increased exposure of women and children to human rights abuses, including exposure to gender-based violence.
It is a living document that draws upon the knowledge and experience of a wide range of experts who support solutions to end violence against women and girls, attentive to the country context in which the crisis is occurring.
UNICEF Innocenti's Children and COVID-19 Library is a database collecting research from around the world on COVID-19 and its impacts on children and adolescents.
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COVID-19 & Children: Rapid Research Response