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UNICEF Innocenti's complete catalogue of research and reports
Increasing Women’s Representation in School Leadership: A promising path towards improving learning
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Increasing Women’s Representation in School Leadership: A promising path towards improving learning

Emerging evidence shows a positive association between women school leaders and student performance. Some studies suggest women school leaders are more likely than their male counterparts to adopt effective management practices that may contribute to improved outcomes. However, women remain largely underrepresented in school leadership positions, particularly in low- and middle-income countries. This brief presents emerging insights on the association between women school leaders and education outcomes and draws attention to women’s underrepresentation in school leadership roles. It highlights the need for further research on gender and school leadership to identify policies and practices that can be implemented to increase women’s representation and scale high-quality management practices adopted by women leaders to more schools to improve education outcomes for all children.
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Annual Report 2021
Publication

Annual Report 2021

The UNICEF Innocenti Annual Report 2021 highlights the key results achieved in research and evidence to inform policymaking and programming.
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A Rapid Review of Economic Policy and Social Protection Responses to Health and Economic Crises and Their Effects on Children: Lessons for the COVID-19 pandemic response
A Rapid Review of Economic Policy and Social Protection Responses to Health and Economic Crises and Their Effects on Children: Lessons for the COVID-19 pandemic response
Published: 2020 Innocenti Working Papers

This rapid review seeks to inform the initial and long-term public policy responses to the COVID-19 pandemic, by assessing evidence on past economic policy and social protection responses to health and economic crises and their effects on children and families. The review focuses on virus outbreaks/emergencies, economic crises and natural disasters, which, like the COVID-19 pandemic, were 'rapid' in onset, had wide-ranging geographical reach, and resulted in disruption of social services and economic sectors, without affecting governance systems. Evidence is also drawn from the HIV/AIDS pandemic, due to its impacts on adult mortality rates and surviving children.

The available evidence on the effects of economic policy and social protection responses is uneven across outcomes, regions, and type of policy response as a large body of literature focused on social assistance programmes. Future research on the COVID-19 pandemic can prioritize the voices of children and the marginalized, assess the effects of expansionary and austerity measures,  examine the role of design and implementation, social care services, pre-existing macro-level health, demographic and health conditions and the diverse regional health and economic impacts of the pandemic. The paper also provides key lessons for public policy responses to the COVID-19 pandemic.

 

Gender Socialization during Adolescence in Low- and Middle-Income Countries: Conceptualization, influences and outcomes
Gender Socialization during Adolescence in Low- and Middle-Income Countries: Conceptualization, influences and outcomes

AUTHOR(S)
Neetu A. John; Kirsten Stoebenau; Samantha Ritter; Jeffrey Edmeades; Nikola Balvin

Published: 2017 Innocenti Discussion Papers

The rapid changes that take place during adolescence provide opportunities for the development and implementation of policies and programmes, which can influence the gender socialization process, in order to maximize positive outcomes. This paper sets out to provide a conceptual understanding of the gender socialization process during adolescence, its influences and outcomes, and practical suggestions on how to use this knowledge in the design of policies and programmes to improve gender equality. First, theoretical contributions from psychology, sociology and biology were reviewed to situate the gender socialization process during adolescence in a broader context of multi-level influences. Second, a socio-ecological framework was introduced to bring together the main factors that influence the gender socialization process and its outcomes. Third, knowledge on how to influence the gender socialization process and its outcomes was summarized in order to provide practical recommendations for policies and programmes. This included: a) reviewing changes in demographics, the global media and gendered economic opportunities, to understand how the gender socialization process, gender norms and identities have been transformed at the macro level; and b) conducting a literature review of small-scale programmes designed to impact the gender socialization process. The paper concludes with recommendations for more holistic policy and programming efforts around gender socialization in adolescence.

What We Know about Ethical Research Involving Children in Humanitarian Settings: An overview of principles, the literature and case studies
What We Know about Ethical Research Involving Children in Humanitarian Settings: An overview of principles, the literature and case studies

AUTHOR(S)
Gabrielle Berman; Jason Hart; Dónal O'Mathúna; Erica Mattellone; Alina Potts; Clare O'Kane; Jeremy Shusterman; Thomas Tanner

Published: 2016 Innocenti Working Papers
This working paper identifies and explores the issues that should be considered when undertaking ethical research involving children in humanitarian settings. Both the universal (i.e. relevant to all research involving children) and specific ethical issues that may arise when involving children in research in humanitarian settings are examined. This is undertaken through a review of the literature, relevant case studies, and a reflection on the ethical issues highlighted in UNICEF’s Procedure for Ethical Standards in Research, Evaluation, Data Collection and Analysis (the Ethics Procedure). The key findings of this overview highlight that many of the ethical issues that are present in other settings remain relevant and applicable in the context of humanitarian settings. These include: an institution’s capacity to appropriately and respectfully engage children in research, understanding power relations, securing informed consent and assent, ascertaining harms and benefits, maintaining privacy and confidentiality, and ensuring appropriate communication of findings.
Children's Perspectives on Economic Adversity: A review of the literature
Children's Perspectives on Economic Adversity: A review of the literature

AUTHOR(S)
Gerry Redmond

Published: 2008 Innocenti Discussion Papers
This paper reviews some of the recent qualitative literature on children's perspectives on economic disadvantage. The idea of asking people who experience disadvantage about their own situations is still a relatively new one in the social sciences, and the idea of asking children about their own perceptions of economic and social disadvantage is even more recent. Nine analyses, all published since 1998, and all of them involving in-depth interviews or group work with children aged between 5 and 17, are examined in detail. Most of these studies develop frameworks based on the 'new sociology of childhood', which emphasises the social construction of childhood and children's agency in the context of child-adult relations. The nine studies cover a number of issues related to economic disadvantage, including exclusion from activities and peer groups at school and in the community; perceptions of 'poor' and 'affluent' children; participation in organized activities outside of school hours; methods of coping with financial hardship; support for parents in coping and in seeking and keeping employment, and aspirations for future careers and lives.
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Responsible Innovation in Technology for Children: Digital technology, play and child well-being
Publication

Responsible Innovation in Technology for Children: Digital technology, play and child well-being

Digital experiences can have significant negative impact on children, exposing them to risks or failing to nurture them adequately. Nevertheless, digital experiences also potentially yield enormous benefits for children, enabling them to learn, to create, to develop friendships, and to build worlds. While global efforts to deepen our understanding of the prevalence and impact of digital risks of harm are burgeoning – a development that is both welcome and necessary – less attention has been paid to understanding and optimizing the benefits that digital technology can provide in supporting children’s rights and their well-being. Benefits here refer not only to the absence of harm, but also to creating additional positive value. How should we recognize the opportunities and benefits of digital technology for children’s well-being? What is the relationship between the design of digital experiences – in particular, play-centred design – and the well-being of children? What guidance and measures can we use to strengthen the design of digital environments to promote positive outcomes for children? And how can we make sure that children’s insights and needs form the foundation of our work in this space? These questions matter for all those who design and promote digital experiences, to keep children safe and happy, and enable positive development and learning. These questions are particularly relevant as the world shifts its attention to emerging digital technologies and experiences, from artificial intelligence (AI) to the metaverse, and seeks to understand their impact on people and society. To begin to tackle these questions, UNICEF and the LEGO Group initiated the Responsible Innovation in Technology for Children (RITEC) project in partnership with the Young and Resilient Research Centre at Western Sydney University; the CREATE Lab at New York University; the Graduate Center, City University of New York; the University of Sheffield; the Australian Research Council Centre of Excellence for the Digital Child; and the Joan Ganz Cooney Center. The research is funded by the LEGO Foundation. The partnership is an international, multi-stakeholder and cross-sectoral collaboration between organizations that believe the design and development of digital technology should support the rights and well-being of children as a primary objective – and that children should have a prominent voice in making this a reality. This project’s primary objective is to develop, with children from around the world, a framework that maps how the design of children’s digital experiences affects their well-being, and to provide guidance as to how informed design choices can promote positive well-being outcomes.
Resources to Support Marginalized Caregivers of Children with Disabilities: Guidelines for Implementation
Publication

Resources to Support Marginalized Caregivers of Children with Disabilities: Guidelines for Implementation

Support from caregivers is critical for children’s learning both at home and at school. However, the COVID-19 pandemic and disruption of education systems globally created additional expectations for parents to support their children’s learning at home. This particularly affected the most marginalized children as the crises exacerbated already existing inequalities in education. This document introduces the approach and purpose of a set of resources to support the marginalized caregivers of children with disabilities with inclusive education. It presents lessons learned from proof-of-concept pilots in Armenia and Uzbekistan, followed by step-by-step guidelines on how to adopt and adapt the resources for education ministries and others who want to implement them in their education system.
Reopening with Resilience: Lessons from Remote Learning during COVID-19: Europe and Central Asia
Publication

Reopening with Resilience: Lessons from Remote Learning during COVID-19: Europe and Central Asia

When schools started closing their doors due to COVID-19, countries in Europe and Central Asia quickly provided alternative learning solutions for children to continue learning. More than 90 per cent of countries offered digital solutions to ensure that education activities could continue. However, lack of access to digital devices and a reliable internet connection excluded a significant amount of already marginalized children and threatened to widen the existing learning disparities. This report builds on existing evidence highlighting key lessons learned during the pandemic to promote learning for all during school closure and provides actionable policy recommendations on how to bridge the digital divide and build resilient education systems in Europe and Central Asia.

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