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Children and COVID-19 Research Library

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

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Women and girls left behind: glaring gaps in pandemic responses
Institution: UN Women
Published: December 2021

This publication compiles and analyses the results of Rapid Gender Assessment surveys (RGAs) on the socioeconomic impacts of COVID-19 in 45 countries, produced by UN Women in partnership with national statistical offices, governmental entities, international partners, or private sector. The report confirmed uneven pandemic impacts for women on five key areas of concern: 1) participation in the workforce; 2) unpaid care and domestic work; 3) emotional and physical well-being; 4) access to goods and services; and 5) relief and social protection measures. The report also draws on the findings from the UNDP-UN Women Gender Response Tracker, which provides information on how countries are integrating gender equality in their policy responses. Country cases on how the RGA results have been used to inform critical gender-responsive policies and recovery plans to build back better are also provided in the report.

COVID-19 and women and girls’ health in low and middle-income countries: an updated review of the evidence

AUTHOR(S)
Abiola Awofeso; Lotus McDougal; Y-Ling Chi (et al.)

Institution: Center for Global Development
Published: October 2021

In an updated review of how the COVID-19 pandemic has been affecting women’s and girls’ health in low- and middle-income contexts, this study examined 247 studies between January and March 2021 (peer-reviewed papers, pre-prints, and working papers that met specific search terms, and contained empirical analyses and findings). This collection of evidence largely reinforces previous findings that in many areas, women are bearing the greatest burdens of the crisis. Evidence continues to mount that there has been disruption of access to and utilization of maternal health services and contraceptive services, disproportionately worse mental health for women versus men, as well as worsened mental health for pregnant women during the pandemic. This review also identifies new research indicating mixed evidence on COVID-19- related knowledge and behaviors and COVID-19 morbidity and mortality by gender. Gaps remain on several health issues (e.g., non-communicable diseases, infectious diseases other than HIV). Existing research also focuses primarily on describing and quantifying the burden of these gendered health impacts, rather than sharing effective mitigation strategies.

The 2021 Asia-Pacific girls report

AUTHOR(S)
Chamaiporn Siangyen; Caterina Grasso; Reylynne Dela Paz (et al.)

Institution: Plan International
Published: September 2021

The 2021 Asia-Pacific Girls Report is Plan International’s annual research report concerning girls in the Asia-Pacific region. It is part of our contribution towards the United Nations 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development in 2015, committed to equitable and inclusive development for girls and young women. This report highlights both the civic engagement activities of young female activists in the Asia-Pacific and the unique challenges girls and young women face throughout the region. As part of this research, Plan International conducted interviews with sector-based experts and young female activists to assess the current situation in the region. Plan International developed and updated the Asia and Pacific Girls’ Leadership Indexes to measure the opportunities of adolescent girls and young women to develop and demonstrate their leadership capabilities, their unique voice in the region, the gaining of support for their choices and collective and individual power.

Covid-19 and female learners in South Sudan: the impact of school closures in Juba, Rumbek, Kapoeta, Torit and Pibor
Institution: Institute of Social Policy and Research
Published: August 2021
The COVID-19 pandemic and resulting closure of South Sudan’s schools in March 2020 exacerbated many of the challenges female learners face in pursuing an education. Research found that increased poverty, domestic care work, early and forced marriage, and teenage pregnancy would make it difficult for female learners to return to schools when they reopened in May 2021. Greater financial and material support to female learners and their schools; more inclusive school environments for mothers, married or pregnant learners; and improved availability of services for learners experiencing gender-based violence, early and forced marriage or pregnancy are necessary to adequately support female learners to continue their education.
COVID-19: the turning point for gender equality

AUTHOR(S)
Senait Fisseha; Gita Sen; Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus; Henrietta H. Fore (et al.)

Published: July 2021   Journal: The Lancet
The impacts of the COVID-19 pandemic have gone far beyond the disease itself. In addition to the increasing number of COVID-19 deaths, the pandemic has deepened social and economic inequalities. These indirect impacts have been compounded by pervasive gender inequalities, with profound consequences, especially for women, girls, and people of diverse gender identities. There has been an escalation in gender-based violence within households, increasing numbers of child marriages and female genital mutilation, and an increased burden of unpaid care work, with impacts on mental health. Communities of people affected by HIV are, again, at the crossroads of injustice and targeted discrimination. Measures to control the pandemic have reduced access to essential health and social welfare services, including sexual and reproductive health services, reduced employment and labour force participation, and decimated many household incomes. Here again, women have borne the brunt of marginalisation, particularly those working in the informal sector. Intersectionality analyses have highlighted the inextricable effects of poverty, racial discrimination, harmful gender norms, and limited agency and opportunities for women, especially already marginalised women, even when they represent most of the front-line health workers. The diversion of funds from other health and development programmes into economic recovery means that the pandemic is further eroding health gains made over decades, stalling progress on tackling gender inequalities.
Breaking the chain: empowering girls and communities to end child marriages during COVID-19 and beyond
Institution: World Vision
Published: May 2021

Right now, there are 650 million child brides living in every region of the world. Child marriage is a fundamental violation of human rights, which severely impacts the global economy, peace and security, as well as hampering the achievement of the Sustainable Development Goals. Progress has been made over the last decade, but 2020 saw the greatest surge in child marriage rates in 25 years. Global projections of girls married by 2030 have shot up from 100 million to 110 million, as an additional 10 million girls will now be married due to the effects of the COVID-19 outbreak. According to anecdotal data from our programmes, between March-December 2020, child marriages more-than doubled in many communities compared to 2019.This report compiles research and data from four unique contexts – Afghanistan, Bangladesh, Senegal and Uganda – where World Vision has been working to address the issue of child marriage. In each of these countries, case studies were developed using first-hand accounts of promising practices towards eliminating child marriage.

A lost year of learning for girls in Ethiopia: evidence from the Young lives at work COVID-19 phone survey

AUTHOR(S)
Catherine Porter; Alula Pankhurst; Kath Ford

Institution: Young Lives
Published: April 2021
This policy brief looks at the impact of COVID-19 on girls’ education in Ethiopia, summarising findings from the Young Lives COVID-19 phone survey (consisting of three calls between June–December 2020) in relation to the Younger Cohort in the study, now aged 19. Our findings also highlight the importance of addressing associated gender issues in relation to increasing levels of domestic work and risks of early marriage, as well as worsening mental health, to avoid the longerterm impacts of a lost year of education.
Cite this research | No. of pages: 6 | Language: English | Topics: Education | Tags: COVID-19 response, education of girls, lockdown, social distance, women's education | Countries: Ethiopia | Publisher: Young Lives
Listen to us: adolescent girls in North West South West Cameroon on conflict and COVID-19
Institution: Plan International
Published: March 2021

This report is the result of a multi-sectoral needs assessment exercise focusing on the rights and needs of adolescents living in the Anglophone territories of North West South West (NWSW) Cameroon. Conducted under extremely challenging circumstances, the assessment used innovative methods pioneered by Plan International to capture the voices of adolescent girls and young women, alongside adolescent boys, young men and their parents and caregivers. It spoke directly to adolescent girls themselves, in particular adolescent girls who are mothers, pregnant, or married, whose ideas, and needs, are often ignored. The NWSW regions of Cameroon have been engulfed in crisis since late 2016, yet this conflict, and its impacts on adolescents, have received limited attention from the international community. This report, which gives adolescents the space to voice their concerns and priorities can be used to engage with states, donors and other humanitarian actors on this neglected crisis and highlight what needs to be done to address adolescents’ needs, rights and aspirations.

Safe back to school: Sierra Leone
Institution: Save the Children
Published: March 2021

The COVID-19 pandemic has exacerbated an existing learning crisis in Sierra Leone, and has disrupted the learning of over 2.4 million children across the country. The most marginalised and deprived children, including girls, children from poor households, and children from rural areas, already had limited access to good quality education prior to the pandemic, and are now at an increased risk of being left behind, and not returning to school at all. Save the Children are calling on the Government of Sierra Leone to commit to realising the right to quality education for all children by ensuring that all children are able to return to school safely, and that long-term, systemic issues with the education system damaging the quality of learning are acted on to ensure that all children are able to access good quality education.

Re-imagining play spaces in early childhood education: supporting girls’ motive orientation to STEM in times of COVID-19

AUTHOR(S)
Marilyn Fleer

Published: November 2020   Journal: Journal of Early Childhood Research
In unprecedented times, the global community is calling for greater knowledge and engagement in science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM) to support the decision making and practices of the general community. COVID-19 has highlighted this pressing need and inviting a ‘new normal’. But STEM is not the core business of early childhood. What role can the early childhood education research community take? This paper reports on a cultural-historical study that investigated how a Conceptual PlayWorld changed the traditional Froebelian play areas to support girls’ play and motives in STEM. The question guiding that study was how could a Conceptual PlayWorld overcome the problems previously identified in the literature on girls’ inclusion in STEM activities in preschools.
Whose time to care: unpaid care and domestic work during COVID-19
Institution: UN Women
Published: November 2020

Globally, as more people are at home than ever, due to pandemic-related measures and lockdowns, the need for household chores and child care has multiplied. But who is shouldering these increased burdens, and by how much have they increased? To answer this question, UN Women has been gathering new and eye-opening data.

Coping with more than COVID-19

AUTHOR(S)
Kelley Swain

Published: October 2020   Journal: The Lancet Child & Adolescent Health
Education, and its precarity for young women around the world, is a major theme in the UNICEF video essay series, “Coping with COVID-19”, which invited 16 adolescent girls from nine countries to film their lives under lockdown—“unfiltered, unscripted, 100% real”. These young women face complex interconnected challenges. Having access to safe, reliable, high-quality education can help them make choices that will benefit their goals relating to future work, relationships, and community involvement.
In solidarity with girls: gender and education in crisis
Published: September 2020

Drawing on the ‘build back better’ principle, this brief contributes to policy dialogues and discussions on how we can plan for and work towards more equal, gender-responsive school systems once restrictions are lifted. This policy brief builds on the content of an intergenerational dialogue that is representative of the wider youth network that each advocate represents. The dialogue focused on the gendered impacts of school closures and youth-led, innovative responses that are being undertaken in different contexts. It also explored some policy measures and actions aimed at governments, policymakers, and other key stakeholders to promote girls’ return to school. This brief contributes to policy dialogues and discussions on how we can transform our education systems to work better for girls. The intergenerational dialogue on which this policy brief is based discussed the existing inequalities that have been exacerbated through the pandemic, with a focus on the gender digital divide. The brief also outlines concrete actions to rebuild a ‘new normal’ in education post COVID-19, alongside visions for more gender equal, inclusive education systems. The recommendations are aimed at governments, policymakers, funders and other key stakeholders in the gender and education space.

From insights to action: Gender equality in the wake of COVID-19 
Institution: UN Women
Published: September 2020
This publication summarizes the data, research and policy work produced by UN Women on the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic on women and girls, including how it is affecting extreme poverty, employment, health, unpaid care and violence against women and girls. The publication also brings into focus the paucity of gender data and calls for greater investment and prioritization of data on the gendered effects of the crisis.
Building back equal: girls back to school guide
Institution: Malala Fund, Plan International, *UNICEF, UNESCO
Published: August 2020

COVID-19 unprecedented disruption to education has the potential to roll back substantial gains made on girls’ education in recent decades, with broader immediate and longer-term effects on the achievement of the Sustainable Development Goals, including those related to poverty reduction, health and well-being, inclusive quality education and gender equality. The guide, developed by the Malala Fund, Plan International, UNESCO, UNGEI and UNICEF, aims to help policymakers and practitioners in ministries of education and their partners address the gender dimensions of the pandemic-related school closures. It provides targeted recommendations to ensure continuity of learning while schools are closed, and to establish comprehensive, timely and evidence-based plans for reopening schools in a way that is safe, gender-responsive and child-friendly.

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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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COVID-19 & Children: Rapid Research Response

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.