An increasing number of organizations are sharing valuable insights into the impacts of COVID-19 on girls around the world. While it’s estimated that COVID-19 lockdowns and school closures have caused 743 million girls to be out of school, UNFPA’s new State of the World’s Population report shows that girls face numerous challenges to staying in school, such as child marriage and access to distance learning. Data shows, for example, that only 12% of households in the poorest countries have internet access at home, and access to mobile internet is 26% lower for women and girls than for their male peers. Additionally, girls are the first to be pulled out of school, put to work and care for younger siblings when families face economic hardship.
We also know that COVID-19 lockdowns and movement restrictions exacerbate the risk of violence against women and children. Fortunately, we’re seeing country-led solutions to protect women and children from harm, during COVID-19 and beyond. In Zimbabwe, for example, a shuttle bus is helping survivors of gender-based violence reach the support services they need.
To read more, see below for five news stories that caught our attention this week:
Elle, (July 7, 2020): In this opinion piece, Tarana Burke and Mónica Ramírez explain why the fight for racial justice needs to include conversations about sexual violence. They highlight Survivors’ Agenda, a collective of organizations doing survivor-led work to support survivors of sexual violence.
Girls Not Brides, (July 10, 2020): This blog highlights some stats around COVID-19 and girls’ education, such as that lockdowns and school closures may have already caused 743 million girls to miss out on their education. It discusses the challenges girls face to continuing education and what is being done to help.
The Washington Post, (July 8, 2020): This article reveals that Virginia has eliminated a backlog of 2,665 untested rape kits, making it only the seventh state without a rape kit backlog, and explains why untested rape kits have been a national problem.
NPR, (July 11, 2020): This article explains how Kenya’s already high rates of underage pregnancy have been increasing since COVID-19 lockdowns, making it even more difficult for many teenage girls to go back to school.