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Children and COVID-19 Research Library

UNICEF Innocenti's curated library of COVID-19 + Children research

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When family interrupted work: the implications of gendered role perception in the face of COVID‐19

AUTHOR(S)
S. Susie Lee; Melody M. Chao; Hongwei He (et al.)

Published: June 2022   Journal: Journal of Social Issues
During the COVID-19 pandemic, many individuals are confronted with the work-from-home challenge, which often results in work-family interference. Although prior to COVID-19, the influence of traditional gender role expectations was shown to be reduced over time, it is unclear whether and how such traditional worldview might influence judgments towards men and women when family interrupted work under the threat of COVID-19. This study presented and tested competing predictions derived from the gender role theory. An experimental study with 971 adults showed that during (vs. before) COVID-19 pandemic, men were evaluated more negatively when they experienced family interruption to work compared with women. The negative evaluation further led to more punitive reactions and less support at work. The results suggested that gender role expectations reinforced the traditional status quo by punishing status-quo-breakers under the threat of COVID-19.
Childcare, work or worries? What explains the decline in parents' well-being at the beginning of the COVID-19 pandemic in Germany?

AUTHOR(S)
Basha Vicari; Gundula Zoch; Ann-Christin Bächmann (et al.)

Published: April 2022   Journal: Journal of Family Research

This study examines how care arrangements, general and altered working conditions, and worries influenced subjective well-being at the onset of the COVID-19 pandemic for working parents in Germany. Prior research suggests several reasons for declines in subjective well-being, particularly for working mothers. This study employs Pearlin's (1989) stress process model to explore the role of parental childcare, altered working conditions and amplified worries of working parents in terms of increased stressors and modified resources to cope with the extraordinary situation.

Childcare, COVID-19 and female firm exit: impact of COVID-19 school closure policies on global gender gaps in business outcomes

AUTHOR(S)
Markus Goldstein; Paula Gonzalez; Sreelakshmi Papineni (et al.)

Institution: The World Bank
Published: April 2022
This paper estimates the impact of a large negative childcare shock on gender gaps in entrepreneurship using the shock created by national COVID-19 school closure policies. The paper leverages a unique data set of monthly enterprise data collected from a repeated cross-section of business owners across 50 countries via Facebook throughout 2020 and in 2021. The paper shows that, globally, female-led firms were, on average, 4 percentage points more likely to close their business and experienced larger revenue declines than male-led firms during the COVID-19 pandemic in 2020 (male firms closed at a rate of 17 percent in 2020, and 12 percent in 2021). The gender gap in firm closures persisted into 2021. The closing of schools, a key part of the care infrastructure, led to higher business closures, and women with children were more likely to close their business in response to a school closure policy than men with children. Female entrepreneurs were found to take on a greater share of the increase in the domestic and care work burden than male entrepreneurs. Finally, the paper finds that women entrepreneurs in societies with more conservative norms with respect to gender equality were significantly more likely to close their business and increase the time spent on domestic and care responsibilities in response to a school closure policy, relative to women in more liberal societies. The paper provides global evidence of a motherhood penalty and childcare constraint to help explain gender inequalities in an entrepreneurship context.
Balancing work and childcare: evidence from COVID-19 school closures and reopenings in Kenya

AUTHOR(S)
Pierre E. Biscaye; Dennis Egger; Utz J. Pape

Institution: The World Bank
Published: March 2022
This paper identifies the impact of childcare responsibilities on adult labor supply in the context of COVID-19-related school closures in Kenya. It compares changes in parents’ labor participation after schools partly reopened in October 2020 for households with children in a grade eligible to return against households with children in adjacent grades. Using nationally-representative panel data from World Bank phone surveys in 2020–21, the findings show that the partial reopening increases affected adults’ weekly labor hours by 22 percent, with increases concentrated in household agriculture. The results suggest that school closures account for over 30 percent of the fall in average work hours in the first few months after COVID-19 cases were detected. The effects are driven by changes in household childcare burdens and child agricultural labor when a student returns to school. The impacts are not significantly different by sex of the adult. Although both women and men increased hours spent on childcare during the pandemic, women benefited more than men from reductions in childcare needs, but took on more of the childcare burden when the returning student was a net childcare provider. The results highlight the importance of siblings in household childcare and suggest that policies that increase childcare availability and affordability could increase adult labor supply in Kenya.
Girls’ lived experiences of school closures : insights from interviews with girls and mothers in Punjab, Pakistan

AUTHOR(S)
Rabea Malik; Najaf Zahra; Ayesha Tahir (et al.)

Published: February 2022
This note explores findings on the changing household dynamics in response to the mandated Coronavirus (COVID-19) school closures in Punjab, Pakistan. The SMS girl impact evaluation and a complementing qualitative study assessed the lived experiences of girls during school closures. Mothers and daughters in select districts were interviewed via phone. The initial round of interviews tells a story of economic hardship, gendered division of household tasks, loss of learning, lack of engagement with educational TV programming, and fear that some students may not re-enrol when schools reopen.
Examining COVID-19 vaccine uptake and attitudes among 2SLGBTQ+ youth experiencing homelessness

AUTHOR(S)
Alex Abramovich; Nelson Pang; Sharumathy Kunasekaran (et al.)

Published: January 2022   Journal: BMC Public Health

The COVID-19 pandemic has disproportionately impacted 2SLGBTQ+ youth experiencing homelessness. Little is known about vaccine attitudes and uptake among this population. To address this, the objectives of this study were to explore this group’s COVID-19 vaccine attitudes, and facilitators and barriers impacting vaccine uptake. 2SLGBTQ+ youth experiencing homelessness in the Greater Toronto Area were recruited to participate in online surveys assessing demographic characteristics, mental health, health service use, and COVID-19 vaccine attitudes. Descriptive statistics and statistical tests were used to analyze survey data to explore variables associated with vaccine confidence. Additionally, a select group of youth and frontline workers from youth serving organizations were invited to participate in online one-on-one interviews. An iterative thematic content approach was used to analyze interview data. Quantitative and qualitative data were merged for interpretation by use of a convergent parallel analytical design.

Child care and participation in the Global South: an anthropological study from squatter houses in Buenos Aires

AUTHOR(S)
Pía Leavy; Paula Nurit Shabel

Published: January 2022   Journal: Third World Thematics: A TWQ Journal
Children and teenagers are often considered as objects of care or as subjects who have the right to be cared for. However, in squatter houses in Buenos Aires, they often take on responsibilities that challenge the ways we understand childcare and participation. This article sets out to analyse the experiences of girls and young women. To do so, it carried out ethnographic work with girls aged 8–19 years within two occupied buildings in a Buenos Aires neighbourhood before and during the COVID-19 pandemic, studying its consequent measures of isolation and social distancing. Firstly, it describes how health measures applied to contain the pandemic reinforced certain stereotypes about children and their care. Secondly, it analyzes the participation of these children in production and reproduction activities inside and outside their homes. This analysis includes the ways in which they deployed strategies for their own care, based on their activism in a political organisation. The analysed material shows tensions between care and participation that occur in the daily practices of young women who inhabit these spaces, which are crossed by moral and legal duties as well as by material needs and violence.
The evolving impacts of the COVID-19 pandemic on gender inequality in the US labor market: the COVID motherhood penalty

AUTHOR(S)
Kenneth A. Couch; Robert W. Fairlie; Huanan Xu

Published: January 2022   Journal: Economic Inquiry
This study explored whether COVID-19 disproportionately affected women in the labor market using Current Population Survey data through the end of 2020. It found that male–female gaps in the employment-to-population ratio and hours worked for women with school-age children have widened but not for those with younger children. Triple-difference estimates are consistent with most of the reductions observed for women with school-age children being attributable to additional childcare responsibilities (the “COVID motherhood penalty”). Conducting decompositions, it found women had a greater likelihood to telework, higher education levels and a less-impacted occupational distribution, which all contributed to lessening negative impacts relative to men.
Systems thinking in COVID-19 recovery is urgently needed to deliver sustainable development for women and girls

AUTHOR(S)
Jessica Omukuti; Matt Barlow; Maria Eugenia Giraudo (et al.)

Published: December 2021   Journal: The Lancet Planetary Health
In low-income and middle-income countries, such as those in sub-Saharan Africa and Latin America, the COVID-19 pandemic has had substantial implications for women's wellbeing. Policy responses to the COVID-19 pandemic have highlighted the gendered aspect of pandemics; however, addressing the gendered implications of the COVID-19 pandemic comprehensively and effectively requires a planetary health perspective that embraces systems thinking to inequalities. This Viewpoint is based on collective reflections from research done by the authors on COVID-19 responses by international and regional organisations, and national governments, in Latin America and sub-Saharan Africa between June, 2020, and June, 2021. A range of international and regional actors have made important policy recommendations to address the gendered implications of the COVID-19 pandemic on women's health and wellbeing since the start of the pandemic. However, national-level policy responses to the COVID-19 pandemic have been partial and inconsistent with regards to gender in both sub-Saharan Africa and Latin America, largely failing to recognise the multiple drivers of gendered health inequalities.
Vignettes of mothering through the pandemic: a gendered perspective of challenges and making meaning of motherhood in India

AUTHOR(S)
Ketoki Mazumdar; Isha Sen; Sneha Parekh

Published: December 2021   Journal: Women's Studies International Forum
The current exploratory study endeavoured to understand the lived experiences of Indian mothers with children below the age of 10 during the COVID-19 pandemic through a feminist lens. Vignettes of two mothers from different occupational backgrounds and family units were chosen. Through in-depth interviews, and using a thematic analysis framework, themes of increased household and childcare responsibilities, evolving socio-cultural gender roles, self-compassion, self-care and meaning making emerged from the narratives. Findings indicate heightened inequalities and efforts from spouses to reduce this gap. Mothers responded by choosing a more compassionate approach towards themselves and in their mothering practices and thus making meaning of their experiences through the pandemic. Results indicate a need to establish and enforce stronger policies around recognizing and appreciating unpaid care and domestic work in keeping with the United Nations Sustainable Development Goal 5.
The ignored pandemic: the dual crises of gender-based violence and Covid-19

AUTHOR(S)
Rowan Harvey

Institution: Oxfam
Published: November 2021

Gender Based Violence (GBV) is a global pandemic existing in all social groups across the globe, yet it has largely been ignored in the COVID-19 response and recovery plans. It is evident that the COVID-19 pandemic has intensified GBV, including domestic violence and intimate partner violence amongst other forms of violations, but the investments in GBV prevention and response are dramatically inadequate, with just 0.0002% of the overall COVID-19 response funding opportunities going into it. Barriers to achieving gender justice, such as harmful social norms, continue to exist, but progress made since the start of the 16 Days of Activism Against Gender-Based Violence Campaign show that there are solutions, and feminist activism has been a driving force for progress on eliminating gender-based violence.

Gender and educational inequalities during the COVID-19 pandemic: preliminary insights from Poland

AUTHOR(S)
Małgorzata Krywult-Albańska; Łukasz Albański

Published: November 2021   Journal: Sustainability
The global pandemic of COVID-19 has had a profound impact on many spheres of social life across the world. One of them has been the deepening of social inequalities and the aggravating of discrimination based on gender. Emerging studies in the field of education and occupation systems point to the fact that women seem to have been particularly affected, along with layoffs in those sectors of the economy where female staffs prevail. Additionally, in many countries, the burden of combining professional careers and supporting the education of young children falls disproportionately on mothers. These transformations pose a challenge to meeting the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals, wherein gender equality is an important factor. This article uses official statistical data to examine gender and educational structures during the COVID-19 pandemic in Poland, set against the backdrop of other European nations and analyzed in the context of sustainability. Have educational and gender inequalities been exacerbated as data from other countries suggest? In order to answer this question, the article traces changes in the education system in Poland and their implications for gender structures. The latter have also been affected by transformations on the labor market in various sectors of the economy, therefore, the second part of the analysis focuses on the labor market changes during the pandemic. The final section offers conclusions on the implications of the pandemic for the studied issues. Throughout the article, we apply the principles of unobtrusive research. Following the theoretical framework outlined in the first part of the paper, we carry out a descriptive analysis of existing statistical data collected by the Eurostat. These official statistics are supplemented by an overview of public opinion polls to allow for perspectives on structural changes, as they are perceived by those affected by them.
Telecommuting and gender inequalities in parents' paid and unpaid work before and during the COVID-19 pandemic

AUTHOR(S)
Thomas Lyttelton; Emma Zang; Kelly Musick

Published: November 2021   Journal: Journal of Marriage and Family

This study examines the relationship between telecommuting and gender inequalities in parents' time use at home and on the job before and during the COVID-19 pandemic. Telecommuting is a potential strategy for addressing the competing demands of work and home and the gendered ways in which they play out. Limited evidence is mixed, however, on the implications of telecommuting for mothers' and fathers' time in paid and unpaid work. The massive increase in telecommuting due to COVID-19 underscores the critical need to address this gap in the literature.

Gendering boundary work: Experiences of work–family practices among Finnish working parents during COVID-19 lockdown

AUTHOR(S)
Katri Otonkorpi-Lehtoranta; Milla Salin Hakovirta; Anniina Kaittila

Published: November 2021   Journal: Gender, Work & Organisation
In the spring of 2020, the COVID-19 outbreak and governmental lockdowns changed the everyday lives of families with children worldwide. Due to remote work recommendations and the closing of school premises and childcare centers, work–family boundaries became blurred in many families. This study examines the possibly gendered boundary work practices among Finnish parents during the COVID-19 lockdown in spring 2020 by asking, how do parents perceive the blurring of work–family boundaries? What kind of boundary work practices did families develop to manage their work and family roles, and were these practices gendered and how? Boundary practices are analyzed by combining theories of doing boundaries and gender theories in the context of the COVID-19 pandemic and applying them to survey data.
He’s working from home and I’m at home trying to work: experiences of childcare and the work–family balance among mothers during COVID-19

AUTHOR(S)
Sara Martucci

Published: October 2021
This article captures mothers’ experiences of the work–family balance and division of household labor during the initial COVID-19 lockdown. Interviews were conducted with twenty-five academics and twenty professionals in other fields. Mothers who split childcare with their partners had a more positive experience of the work–family balance during lockdown, compared with mothers who did the majority of the childcare. The present study adds a new wrinkle into the literature on flexibility and work–family balance: the perception of flexibility and its impact on the division of labor. Academic mothers, who had always had highly “flexible” jobs, were less likely to split childcare with their partners pre-pandemic and thus less likely to have positive experiences of work–family balance during the Spring 2020 lockdown. I argue that perceived flexibility of a partner’s job affected allocation of childcare during the initial stages of the pandemic, a moment that wreaked significant harm on women’s careers.
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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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UNICEF Innocenti is mobilizing a rapid research response in line with UNICEF’s global response to the COVID-19 crisis. The initiatives we’ve begun will provide the broad range of evidence needed to inform our work to scale up rapid assessment, develop urgent mitigating strategies in programming and advocacy, and preparation of interventions to respond to the medium and longer-term consequences of the COVID-19 crisis. The research projects cover a rapid review of evidence, education analysis, and social and economic policies.