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Children and COVID-19 Research Library

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

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1 - 15 of 37
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.
Academic women and their children: parenting during COVID-19 and the impact on scholarly productivity

AUTHOR(S)
Sara Bender; Kristina S. Brown; Deanna L. Hensley Kasitz (et al.)

Published: December 2021   Journal: Family Relations

This study explored the experiences of academic mothers traversing the simultaneous demands of parenting and their professional roles throughout the pandemic to better understand the impact of COVID-19 on engagement in scholarship. In response to reports of reduced scholarship by women across academic disciplines, the goal of this study was to understand the lived experiences of women scholars who identify as mothers. Academic women, including faculty and students, completed an online survey with demographic items and open-ended questions. From the collected data, responses from participants who identified as mothers (n = 51) were analyzed using thematic analysis.

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.

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.
Empowered women. empowered children
Published: November 2021

Every child deserves to reach her or his full potential wherever they live. Yet, achieving positive child well-being outcomes remains a challenge globally. COVID-19 has further exacerbated children’s existing vulnerabilities and amplified inequalities, especially in fragile contexts. As part of its mandate to help the most vulnerable children achieve their full potential, World Vision focuses on child well-being programmes that aim to improve key child well-being outcomes. Ten years of conflict in Syria have aggravated gender inequalities and the risks of violence for women and girls inside and outside the country. To increase the focus on gender-responsive programmes that respond to the strategic needs of women, World Vision (WV) Syria Response conducted a piece of research that aimed to better understand the connection between Syrian mothers’ and children’s well-being and identify impactful approaches that effectively address both. Specifically, the research explored women’s empowerment and children’s well-being factors in Syria and selected host countries. It looked at how women’s socio-demographic factors and empowerment components influence physical, emotional, mental, and psycho-social child well-being. A cross-sectional observation methodology was developed using convenience sampling in Northwest Syria (NWS) and Government of Syria (GoS) areas, Jordan, and Turkey. The research targeted World Vision’s beneficiary children living in structured families and their mothers. The survey results were complemented key informant interviews (KIIs) with mothers and their children.

‘Lockdown's changed everything’: mothering adult children in prison in the UK during the COVID-19 pandemic

AUTHOR(S)
Kelly Lockwood

Published: October 2021   Journal: Probation Journal
The COVID-19 pandemic occurred at a time when families of prisoners were gaining visibility in both academia and policy. Research exploring the experiences of families of prison residents has tended to focus on intimate partners and children, despite parents of those in prison being more likely than partners or children to maintain contact. The small body of work focusing on parents has identified their continued care for their children and highlights the burden of providing this care. With the ethics of care posing an ideological expectation on women to provide familial care, the care for adult children in custody is likely to fall to mothers. However, with restricted prison regimes, the pandemic has significantly impeded mothers’ ability to provide this ‘care’. Adopting a qualitative methodology, this paper explores the accounts of mothers to adult children in custody during the pandemic across two UK prison systems, England and Wales, and Scotland; exploring the negotiation of mothering in the context of imprisonment and the pandemic and highlighting important lessons for policy and practice.
From “nobody's clapping for us” to “bad moms”: COVID-19 and the circle of childcare in Canada

AUTHOR(S)
Julia Smith

Published: October 2021   Journal: Gender, Work & Organization
The COVID-19 pandemic has highlighted the importance of childcare to national economies in general and women's economic participation in particular, spurring renewed interest in childcare policy in many countries that have implemented lockdowns. This paper adopts a circle of care framework to analyzes how COVID-19 has affected paid childcare, unpaid childcare and other paid work, and the relationship between these sectors. Analysis is grounded in the lived experiences of parents and childcare educators, documented through 16 semi-structured interviews during the initial lockdown (March–June 2020) in British Columbia, Canada. Experiences from educators suggest their safety was not prioritized, and that their contributions were undervalued and went unrecognized. Mothers, who provided the majority of unpaid care, not only lost income due to care demands, but struggled to access necessities, with some reporting increased personal insecurity. Those attempting to work from home also experienced feelings of guilt and distress as they tried to manage the triple burden. Similarities of experiences across the circle of care suggest the COVID-19 childcare policy response in BC Canada downloaded care responsibilities on to women without corresponding recognition or support, causing women to absorb the costs of care work, with potential long-term negative effects on women's careers and well-being, as well as on the resilience of the circle of care.
School–family relations: an educational challenge in times of COVID-19

AUTHOR(S)
Mario Ferreras-Listán; Coral I. Hunt-Gómez; Pilar Moreno-Crespo (et al.)

Published: October 2021   Journal: International Journal of Environmental Research and Public Health
The COVID-19 pandemic has widened the gap regarding access to educational opportunities, which was included in the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs). This descriptive, quantitative study aims to examine the communication strategies employed by secondary schools in Spain during the lockdown, as well as to analyse the co-responsibility of the educational process between schools and families. An ad hoc questionnaire (GIESBAFCOV-19) was designed and implemented to gather information. The results show that, in most cases, mothers were responsible for assisting and supervising their children’s homework as persons in charge of education-related matters. Additionally, before the lockdown was put in place, about half of the participating families received information from the educative centres regarding the disease and sanitary measures. Once the lockdown took place, families put the focus on their children’s schoolwork, not without difficulties in academic and digital literacy.
Stay home and be unfair: the amplification of inequalities among families with young children during COVID-19

AUTHOR(S)
Marco Pitzalis; Emanuela Spanò

Published: October 2021   Journal: European Journal of Education
This article focuses on the educational practices and strategies mobilised by Italian families with children aged six years and younger, during the health crisis caused by the COVID-19 pandemic in Italy, in 2020. Specifically, we analyse practices and strategies mobilised by families from different social milieus living in rural or urban contexts. We argue that the shift in childcare practices and needs during the pandemic promoted the reaffirmation of traditional gender stereotypes and patterns of gendered labour division through the blurring of temporal and spatial boundaries between paid work, domestic labour and childcare.
Impact of COVID-19 mitigation measures on inner-city female youth in New York City

AUTHOR(S)
Angela Diaz; Anne Nucci-Sack; Rachel Colon (et al.)

Published: October 2021   Journal: Journal of Adolescent Health

New York City (NYC) was the global epicenter of the COVID-19 pandemic in spring 2020. A “shelter in place” mandate was issued in March 2020. The effect on vulnerable populations of adolescent and young adult (AYA) females has not been well documented. This study administered a monthly online survey between May and November 2020 to AYA females participating in a longitudinal study at Mount Sinai Adolescent Health Center. Surveys asked about death of loved ones, financial impacts, social interactions, exposure to dangerous situations, and mental health impacts. Differences in responses by age, race/ethnicity and living situation were assessed, and compared to data obtained on the same cohort prior to the pandemic.

Global Girlhood Report 2021: girls’ rights in crisis
Institution: Save the Children
Published: October 2021
From its outset, the COVID-19 pandemic was more than a devastating global health emergency. Crises—including climate change-driven disasters, past epidemics such as Ebola and Zika Virus, and violent conflict—have long been understood to have disproportionate consequences for women and girls. The COVID-19 crisis is no exception, with early evidence revealing that containment measures and the resulting economic instability have increased girls’ exposure to violence, reduced access to essential services and information, and directly impacted girls’ ability to realise their rights. The Global Girlhood Report 2021 attempts to enhance our collective understanding of how the predicted impacts of the pandemic have been realised for girls while also recognising how much is still unknown.
Social and economic situation of Palestinian women and girls July 2018 - June 2020
The present report reviews the situation of Palestinian women and girls during the period July 2018 – June 2020, focusing on political, social, economic and human rights developments. Building on research by the Economic and Social Commission for Western Asia (ESCWA) on the status of Palestinian women and girls, and drawing upon the most recent data, the present report highlights the complex situation of women and girls, revealing both progress and setbacks in the context of the Israeli military occupation of the West Bank, including East Jerusalem, and the blockade on Gaza.
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.
A study on the impact of COV1D-19 on women and girls in Ethiopia
Institution: CARE
Published: June 2021
By August 9, 2021, Ethiopia had reported more than 284,000 COVID-19 cases and 4,426 deaths. Since COVID-19 was first reported in Ethiopia in March of 2021, the impacts of the pandemic, the measures taken to curb COVID-19, and additional political, economic, and environmental crises have severely impacted the population.
Women and girls bear different burdens in this crisis, and emergency responses often overlook the differences in impacts and needs for women, girls, men, and boys in humanitarian responses. To that end, this research— with funding from the EUTF (European Union Emergency Trust Fund) provides insight into the impact of COV1D-19 on women and girls in Ethiopia. The quantitative surveys covered adult women and girls over the age of 15. It also provides insights into the differences between refugees, Internally Displaced People (IDPs), refugees, and migrants. Qualitative from focus group discussions and key informant interviews also reflects opinions from men and boys.
Cash and voucher assistance in response to the COVID-19 pandemic

AUTHOR(S)
Sani Dan Aoude

Institution: CARE
Published: June 2021
In April 2020, CARE received a five million dollar grant from MARS to implement a multi-country program, including Cote d’Ivoire, Ecuador, Ghana, Guatemala, Haiti, Honduras, India, Peru, Thailand, and Venezuela1, with the aim of reducing the negative impacts of COVID-19 on vulnerable populations, especially women and girls, using complementary and multimodal approaches. A key activity of this program was the provision of cash and voucher assistance (CVA) to vulnerable populations to meet their diverse basic needs. Program data indicated that CVA was implemented in Cote d’Ivoire, Ecuador, Ghana, Guatemala, Haiti, Honduras, and Thailand.
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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.