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Children and COVID-19 Research Library

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

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Gender disparities in increased parenting time during the COVID-19 pandemic: a research note

AUTHOR(S)
Jennifer March Augustine; Kate Prickett

Published: July 2022   Journal: Demography
Public health measures aimed at curbing the transmission of COVID-19 increased parenting responsibilities during the early stages of the pandemic. This research note examines time-use data from the American Time Use Surveys to provide several fresh insights as to how mothers took on a disproportionate share of this responsibility compared to fathers during this period. First, the gender gap in total parenting time narrowed by 18%. Meanwhile, the gender disparity in time in educational activities increased by 113% and was not explained by changes in mothers’ labor force participation. Mothers also took on 20% more time in secondary caregiving compared to fathers. Estimates among working parents indicated that the amount of time in which mothers coupled paid work with caregiving increased by 346% compared to fathers. These results highlight how fathers marginally increased their caregiving responsibilities compared to mothers, but not in activities that parents tend to rate as more stressful or intensive, such as supervising children's schooling and multitasking at work. The estimates provide clear evidence of the unequal caregiving burden placed on mothers during the pandemic.
"The workload is staggering": Changing working conditions of stay‐at‐home mothers under COVID‐19 lockdowns

AUTHOR(S)
Awish Aslam; Tracey L. Adams

Published: May 2022   Journal: Gender, Work & Organization
The COVID-19 pandemic has drawn attention to the home as a work environment, but the focus has centered on the experiences of paid workers. Stay-at-home mothers (SAHMs), for whom the home was already a workplace, have received little attention. This article explores how pandemic-induced lockdowns impacted SAHMs' working conditions and their experiences of childrearing. Combining a Marxist-feminist conceptualization of domestic labor with a labor process framework, this study performed a qualitative content analysis of vignettes SAHMs shared about their day-to-day domestic labor in an online mothering community.
Work-to-family conflict and parenting practices: examining the role of working from home among lone and partnered working mothers

AUTHOR(S)
Janine Bernhardt; Claudia Recksiedler

Published: May 2022   Journal: Journal of Family Research

This study investigates associations between work-to-family conflict and parenting practices among lone and partnered working mothers and the role of working from home as a potential resource gain or drain for acting empathetically and supportively towards their children. Emerging evidence suggests that work-to-family conflict reduces responsive parenting practices, yet prior studies have rarely examined disparities by family structure. Although working from home has recently gained in importance in the workforce, there is still little research on its implications for the relationship between work-to-family conflict and the quality of parenting practices. If working from home is not used to do supplemental work during overtime hours, it may free up mothers’ time and emotional resources. In turn, this may either buffer the harmful impact of work-to-family conflict on parenting practices or indirectly enhance the quality of parenting practices by reducing work-to-family conflict. This could be particularly beneficial for lone mothers, who experience more role and time strain.

Quantitative analysis of youth not in education, employment and training in East and Southern Africa

AUTHOR(S)
Helen Perry

Institution: UN Women
Published: May 2022

Since the onset of the COVID-19 pandemic and associated worldwide economic decline, East and Southern Africa (ESA) has suffered job losses and an increase in poverty, interruptions in healthcare services, and declined nutrition levels. Young adults whose place in the labor market is often informal, temporary, and tenuous at best have suffered greater job and income losses than their parents. As part of ensuring that recovery efforts also reduce the number of youth, especially young women, not in employment, education, or training (NEET), UN Women in ESA commissioned a quantitative study on the NEET status of youth aged 15-24 years in nine countries in the region. This report summarizes the country findings and provides a detailed analysis of available NEET data for youth aged 15-24 years with a view to supporting evidence-based policy advocacy and action in this area. The study covers Botswana, Ethiopia, Kenya, Malawi, Mozambique, Namibia, Rwanda, South Africa, and Uganda.

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.
Assessing the damage: early evidence on impacts of the COVID-19 crisis on girls and women in Africa
Institution: The World Bank
Published: April 2022
At the onset of the Coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic, there was global concern about the negative indirect impacts the crisis would have on girls and women and their human capital. Two years into the crisis, this brief summarizes the evidence to date on how the prediction of a shadow crisis has played out in Sub-Saharan Africa (SSA).The brief is intended as a call to action for policymakers, since available research sets off multiple alarm bells. It also proposes urgent policy responses. Evidence to date confirms that the COVID-19 crisis has had profound negative impacts on the education, health, employment and empowerment of girls and women including in SSA. Available data is still limited, but what is known to date suggests that we are seeing the tip of an iceberg. Many impacts will have long term repercussions for girls’ and women’s human capital. Decision makers are at a pivotal moment to invest now in women and girls, to neutralize immediate but also prolonged costs to individuals, societies and economies.
Gender-responsive social protection post–COVID-19

AUTHOR(S)
Constanza Tabbush; Maja Gavrilovic; Monica Rubio (et al.)

Published: March 2022   Journal: Science
COVID-19 has reaffirmed that in the face of crises, social and economic fall-out is gendered. From the risk of job loss and economic instability to rising care responsibilities and the experience of violence inside the home, gender inequalities have tended to widen during the pandemic (12). While countries focus on health and mortality impacts of the disease, a mounting, damaging gendered social and economic crisis threatens to roll back decades of development progress, exposing the fragility of equality gains. Social protection has been a key policy response to address pandemic-related social and economic crises; however, attention to gender has been insufficient. Less than one in five global social protection measures during COVID-19 has addressed gender, such as supporting women in informal employment, mitigating risks of violence, and confronting the unequal distribution of care work. Policy priorities (see the box) must include closing gendered research gaps in the COVID-19 recovery.
The impact of the COVID-19 recession on Mexican households: evidence from employment and time use for men, women, and children

AUTHOR(S)
Lauren Hoehn-Velasco; Adan Silverio-Murillo; José Roberto Balmori de la Miyar (et al.)

Published: January 2022   Journal: Review of Economics of the Household
This study examines changes in labor supply, income, and time allocation during the COVID-19 pandemic in Mexico. Using an event-study design, it shows that the COVID-19 recession had severe negative consequences for Mexican households. In the first month of the pandemic, employment declined by 17 percentage points. Men recovered their employment faster than women, where men’s employment approaches original levels by 2021Q2. Women, on the other hand, experienced persistent employment losses. Within-household, men also increased their time spent on household chores while neither gender (persistently) increased their time caring for others. Instead, children reduced their time spent on schoolwork by 25%.
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.
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 gendered consequences of a weak infrastructure of care: school reopening plans and parents’ employment during the COVID-19 pandemic

AUTHOR(S)
Caitlyn Collins; Leah Ruppanner; Liana Christin Landivar (et al.)

Published: March 2021   Journal: Gender & Society
The COVID-19 pandemic has upended in-person public education across the United States, a critical infrastructure of care that parents—especially mothers—depend on to work. To understand the nature and magnitude of school closures across states, this study collected detailed primary data—the Elementary School Operating Status database (ESOS)—to measure the percentage of school districts offering in-person, remote, and hybrid instruction models for elementary schools by state in September 2020. These data have been linked to the Current Population Survey to evaluate the association between school reopening and parents’ labor force participation rates, comparing 2020 labor force participation rates to those observed prepandemic in 2019.
Covid-19 and the gender gap in employment among parents of young children in Canada

AUTHOR(S)
Sylvia Fuller; Yue Qian

Published: March 2021   Journal: Gender & Society
Economic and social disruptions of the COVID-19 pandemic have important implications for gender and class inequality. Drawing on Statistics Canada’s monthly Labour Force Survey, this study documents trends in gender gaps in employment and work hours over the pandemic (February–October 2020). These findings highlight the importance of care provisions for gender equity, with gaps larger among parents than people without children, and most pronounced when care and employment were more difficult to reconcile.
The gender consequences of a weak infrastructure of care: school reopening plans and parents’ employment during the COVID-19 pandemic

AUTHOR(S)
Caitlyn Collins; Liana Christin Landivar; Leah Ruppanner (et al.)

Published: March 2021   Journal: Gender & Society
The COVID-19 pandemic has upended in-person public education across the United States, a critical infrastructure of care that parents—especially mothers—depend on to work. To understand the nature and magnitude of school closures across states, this study collected detailed primary data—the Elementary School Operating Status database (ESOS)—to measure the percentage of school districts offering in-person, remote, and hybrid instruction models for elementary schools by state in September 2020.
The gendered impacts of COVID-19 on labor markets in Latin America and the Caribbean

AUTHOR(S)
Emilia Cucagna; Javier Romero

Institution: The World Bank
Published: January 2021
This note explores the impacts of the COVID-19 crisis on labor outcomes among males and females and identifies the dimensions that render workers more resilient to job losses. These findings are then used to discuss implications for policymaking. To overcome the scarcity of data generated by the pause in most statistical operations resulting from social-distancing measures, High-Frequency Phone Surveys (HFPS) collected in the region by the Poverty and Equity Global Practice of the World Bank are used. In this way, the note aims to estimate the gendered outcomes in the labor markets associated with the deepest recession since World War II
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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.