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Children and COVID-19 Research Library

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

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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; 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.
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
A gendered pandemic: childcare, homeschooling, and parents' employment during COVID‐19

AUTHOR(S)
Richard J. Petts; Daniel L. Carlson; Joanna R. Pepin

Published: December 2020   Journal: Gender, Work and Organization
The COVID‐19 pandemic has dramatically affected employment, particularly for mothers. Many believe that the loss of childcare and homeschooling requirements are key contributors to this trend, but previous work has been unable to test these hypotheses due to data limitations. This study uses novel data from 989 partnered, US parents to empirically examine whether the loss of childcare and new homeschooling demands are associated with employment outcomes early in the pandemic.
Counting the costs of COVID-19: assessing the impact on gender and the achievement of the SDGs in Indonesia
Institution: UN Women, Indosat Ooredoo
Published: October 2020

OVID-19 has affected Indonesian women and men differently. Although men are more likely to die from the pandemic, women’s mental health is taking a bigger toll. With school closures many women are now spending more time helping their children with schoolwork, and other forms of unpaid care and domestic work have also increased at home. As a result of the crisis, women’s paid work time and access to public transit have decreased, putting their livelihoods at stake. At a time when social distancing measures have rendered traditional data collection methods impossible, these effects are hard to capture. In response to this challenge, UN Women’s has partnered with Indosat Ooredoo to find innovative solutions to pursue data collection. These timely findings are important to inform response policies that meet the needs of women and men.

Beijing+25: generation equality begins with adolescent girls' education
Institution: UNESCO
Published: October 2020

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.

Estimating the immediate impact of the COVID-19 shock on parental attachment to the labor market and the double bind of mothers

AUTHOR(S)
Misty L. Heggeness

Published: October 2020   Journal: Review of Economics of the Household
This study examines the impact of the COVID-19 shock on parents’ labor supply during the initial stages of the pandemic. Using difference-in-difference estimation and monthly panel data from the Current Population Survey (CPS), I compare labor market attachment, non-work activity, hours worked, and earnings and wages of those in areas with early school closures and stay-in-place orders with those in areas with delayed or no pandemic closures. While there was no immediate impact on detachment or unemployment, mothers with jobs in early closure states were 68.8 percent more likely than mothers in late closure states to have a job but not be working as a result of early shutdowns. There was no effect on working fathers or working women without school age children. Mothers who continued working increased their work hours relative to comparable fathers; this effect, however, appears entirely driven by a reduction in fathers’ hours worked. Overall, the pandemic appears to have induced a unique immediate juggling act for working parents of school age children. Mothers took a week of leave from formal work; fathers working full time, for example, reduced their hours worked by 0.53 hours over the week. While experiences were different for mothers and fathers, each are vulnerable to scarring and stunted opportunities for career growth and advancement due to the pandemic.
She told us so: rapid gender analysis: filling the data gap to build up equal
Institution: CARE
Published: September 2020

This in-depth research report reveals differing perspectives between women and men when it comes to the challenges associated with the COVID-19 pandemic. In a first of its kind data collection, CARE surveyed more than 10,000 people, including 6,200 women and 4,000 men in more than 40 countries. The report reveals three major areas in which women are more negatively experiencing COVID-19: unemployment, lack of food, and a toll on their mental health.

Countries embracing maternal employment have opened schools sooner after COVID-19 lockdowns

AUTHOR(S)
Ansgar Hudde; Natalie Nitsche

Published: September 2020
This study shows that societal gender ideology likely has affected school closure and opening policies. Societies that are more supportive of maternal employment have reopened schools significantly sooner than societies less supportive of maternal employment, relative to other opening measures and net of infection rates. The study contributes novel evidence on the role of attitudes on policy-decision making, and unveils the presence of a potential gender ideology bias in policy-makers’ ad-hoc decision-making under time pressure. The epidemic threat remains high and questions about the operation of schools continue to be a pressing matter. Considering this bias in decision-making can improve further policy-measures during the remainder of the pandemic, and beyond.
Immediate impact of stay-at-home orders to control COVID-19 transmission on socioeconomic conditions, food insecurity, mental health, and intimate partner violence in Bangladeshi women and their families: an interrupted time series

AUTHOR(S)
Jena Derakhshani Hamadani; Mohammed Imrul Hasan; Andrew J. Baldi

Published: August 2020   Journal: The Lancet Global Health
Stay-at-home orders (lockdowns) have been deployed globally to control COVID-19 transmission, and might impair economic conditions and mental health, and exacerbate risk of food insecurity and intimate partner violence. The effect of lockdowns in low-income and middle-income countries must be understood to ensure safe deployment of these interventions in less affluent settings. This article aims to determine the immediate impact of COVID-19 lockdown orders on women and their families in rural Bangladesh.
Child health, remote work and the female wage penalty

AUTHOR(S)
Amairisa Kouki; Robert M. Sauer

Published: August 2020
Using data on American women and the health status of their children, this paper studies the effect of remote work on female earnings. Instrumental variables estimates, which exploit a temporary child health shock as exogenous variation in the propensity to work at home, yield an hourly wage penalty of 77.1 percent. Earnings losses together with positive selection, and alternative first stage regressions, suggest that task re-assignment or lack of social interaction are likely mechanisms. The estimates also have implications for the costs of social distancing during a pandemic and may be especially applicable when children must be temporarily quarantined.
Cite this research | Issue: IZA DP No. 13648 | No. of pages: 24 | Language: English | Topics: Health, Social Protection, Well-being and Equity | Tags: child health, COVID-19 response, lockdown, women's employment | Countries: United States
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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.